Condition: B- / slight tears; restored loss at upper right corner
Though the scene presented here was also used in Gray's more famous promotion for Théâtre de l'Opéra (see PAI-LXXVIII, 301), this poster advertises a masked ball at the Alcazar. The café-concert later known as Alcazar d'Hiver thrived from 1858-1902 on the Rue du Faubourg-Poissonnière.
The buxom flower-seller is desperate; even as a prospective customer climbs a ladder to escape her sales pitch, the landlord is bearing down upon her with an eviction notice. While little is known regarding the plot of the Biot-Graphe Revue by Tomy and Telloc, theatre critics at the time raved about the production, one going so far as to dub it the greatest show of the year.
In ominous shades of slate and dark blue, Gray depicts a scene from Maurice Donnay's 1903 play, The Return from Jerusalem. "Maurice Donnay collaborated on the Annales de la Patrie française and caused a sensation on the boulevards with an anti-Semitic play, Retour de Jérusalem. Donnay began his career, as we have seen, at the Chat Noir, descended to the boulevards where he made a reputation as an author of light comedies and ended an honored member of the Académie française. Nationalists from Lemaître to Simone de Beauvoir's father adored Donnay plays, perhaps because the typical Donnay hero—an aging boulevardier, debonair, experienced, gray at the temples but still handsome—represented a flattering portrait of themselves" (The Politics of Resentment, p. 449). Below the Christ figure here, the text reads: "On seeing this lamentable flock of my persecuted and hunted coreligionists, I swore to myself to avenge those of my race."