In a letter dated July 1, 1879 to Edmond Javet, the first owner of the present work, Duez noted, "This painting is and will be for me one of the most curious in my oeuvre and among those I prefer. I asked a very high price for it at first, but its very originality frightened away those collectors who don't always follow where we lead! I sell the least little female figure that I make in just a few days for four times the price, while by contrast the Restaurant, which took me months of work, brings me nothing."
Duez in his letter goes on to identify five of his artist friends in this picture: Edouard Detaille (1848-1912) on the extreme right, turning to his left, facing him Roger Jourdain (1845-1918); to their left, facing the lady in the pink hat, Etienne Berne-Bellecour (1838-1910); at the table in the left corner, Louis Leloir (1843-1884) in his uniform of an artillery officer, facing him, reading the wine list, Alphonse de Neuville (1834-1885).
Oil on canvas
Galerie Goupil, Paris
35 1/2 by 46 in. 90.2 by 116.8 cm
Manuscript letter from Duez to Edmond Javet, dated July 1, 1879
Jean-Marie Bruson and Christophe Leribault, Au temps du Marcel Proust: La collection François-Gérard Seligmann au Musée Carnavalet, exhibition catalogue, Musée Carnavalet, Paris, 2001, p. 78
The Wrightsman Pictures, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005, p. 416, pl. 120
Edmond Javet, Limoges
Sotheby's London, November 25, 1981, lot 39, illustrated