Kees van Dongen, Moulin-Rouge ou le Promenoir, 1904

Nos Montmartroises (Our Montmartre women) is Series 79 of the La Librairie de L’estampe colour postcard sets, first published in 1917 and on sale throughout the 1920s. Not even attempting to be erotic, the publishers still listed this set as ‘galante’, and we have included it because it shows Suzanne Meunier as a brilliant portrait painter; as she says in her 1923 Strand Magazine article, ‘nothing fascinated me more than to get the real expression of the eyes, the mysterious subtlety of features, the sheen and the wave of the hair’.

As we see, hats were the thing in the 1920s. The straight-line chemise topped by the close-fitting cloche hat became the uniform of the day. Women bobbed their hair short to fit under the popular hats, seen as radical when first introduced after the First World War, but standard by the end of the decade.