Le Chahut depicts the climactic "can-can" chorus line of a Parisian nightclub.
By this time, the "cafe-concert" was a new and popular venue, one which Seurat and others in his circle of artists used to frequent. These events often became the subjects of their paintings.
Le Chahut is unique among Seurat's major works, not only for the exaggeration of facial detail, but the extremity of perspective bordering on the unnatural. Both elements are colorfully, if somewhat crudely evident, in the 1888-90 Study depicted here. The long chorus line is augmented by a foreshortening of the figures, almost colliding with the band leader below them. The curious placement of the bass violinist at front and center, lends spatial depth to the work, and gives the viewer a vantage point from which to identify his place in the scene. The neck of his instrument paralells the high-step movement of the dancers, resulting in an underlying harmony and paralell actions to the scene.
With this work, Seurat departs somewhat from the color theories of Chevreul. We see a more limited color palette applied here, mostly within the range of blue-to-green-to-yellow, with a complementary reddish-brown in the shadows. There is also a sharper deliniation between figure and ground...