Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Original Prints: Lithographs


One of the hallmark figures of late 19th-century French graphic art, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864 - 1901) first gained fame for his lithographs and posters in the early 1890s, inspired by Bonnard's innovative posters, among others.  An ardent habitué of Montmartre nightlife, from cabaret to bordello, Toulouse-Lautrec drew inspiration from all aspects of the Parisian fin de siècle, and his work chronicled its exuberance with an alert, amused, and often critical eye.

His printmaking œuvre is impressive, comprising more than 350 lithographs, and following Bonnard, Toulouse-Lautrec pioneered color lithography, introducing brush and spatter techniques to render refined tonal values, in a rich graphic style, characterised by bold design layouts, and a strong, immediately visual impact.  Suzanne Valadon was one of his models, and probably his mistress.

Toulouse-Lautrec, En Quarante, lithograph, 1893, a rare trial proof printed in sanguine

En Quarante

Delteil 42; Wittrock 32; Adriani 47

lithograph, 1893, the only known state, signed in pencil by the artist, and with the artist's red stamp, an exceedlingly rare trial proof, unnumbered, printed in sanguine on simili-japon, one of only two known impressions, aside from the first and only edition of 100.

A year after Toulouse-Lautrec's first lithographic posters, the artist was renowned, and busily explored the medium conjointly with his longstanding interest in Parisian cabaret and theater, notably producing albums such as Le Café-Concert, which staged many of the best-known artists of the period.

Between November 1893 and January 1894, he contributed regularly to the avant-garde weekly magazine L'Escarmouche, wherein were published reproductions of his lithographs, which were sold separately by Kleinmann in numbered editions.  Here he casts an amused eye on the audience, which stages a portly old genteman ogling a passing prostitute.

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