Once located on the Parisian Place de la Sorbonne, the Café d’Harcourt was closed down in 1940. Parisian bohemians and ladies of easy virtue pass the time smoking and drinking. A young woman in a red dress buoyantly makes her way through their midst. Her conspicuous outfit belies the shy gaze with which she searchingly surveys the room. Yet nobody takes notice of her. In fact, there is no communication at all between the guests. Here, Evenepoel describes turn-of-the-century Paris as a jaded and decadent society.
At the request of Mathilde Rathenau (1845-1926), a native of Frankfurt, a number of paintings were presented to the Städel in 1926 in memory of her son Walther Rathenau (1867-1922). Walther Rathenau, an industrialist and one of the co-founders of the German Democratic Party, was appointed foreign minister in January 1922. In June of that year he was assassinated in Berlin by the Organisation Consul, whose aim was to fight the Weimar Constitution.