The Montmartre district: Picasso had his first Paris atelier here.


(French, ‘artist’s studio’ or ‘craftsman’s workshop’)

Atelier is not a snooty word in its native language. In fact, in France, where everyone from cobblers and mechanics to world-famous sculptors work in ateliers, it’s a neutral term. We Anglophones have given the word its snob value.

For example, in English, no one would think of using atelier to describe a place where you fix cars. Instead, snobby art critics and collectors use the term to refer to the studios of certain artists, especially those who are French or who have worked in France.

One of these is Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), the Spanish painter who had his first Paris atelier on a winding street in the Montmartre district.