This wonderfully evocative Art Nouveau Lithograph is bursting with political comment.
Executed in 1894 and entitled 'Babylone D'Allemagne' (The German Babylon) it was designed to be the front cover and advertising poster for a book of the same title. Commissioned by the author, Lautrec's friend, Victor Jose, the book was to be an expos-ee of the decadence that had invaded Berlin Society. It cheekily depicts the German Kaiser in caricature standing guard in a sentry box and features the hind quarters of 4 horses.
The implications of the title and poster art provoked a protest from the German Ambassador in Paris and almost caused an International 'incident'. Jose asked Lautrec to withdraw the poster for fear of a backlash, but he refused, and paid for the printing and distribution of the poster himself. Thereafter the value of Lautrecs work quadrupled! Smart man.
Signed in plate and measuring 14" x 10" this limited edition Lithograph was made by Imprimerie Julien (Paris) in 1930 and is in Condition A. It is one of a series of Lautrec Lithographs I will be listing. It is currently matted and framed and will be sent with the matt, but not the glass and frame.
This Lithograph is the original artwork version (printers proof before lettering) that Lautrec first published and is not the version with book detail text see #4. The original of this poster sold recently at auction for $32,000.00, making this smaller version attractively affordable.
Henri-Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa (1864 - 1901) was born of an aristocratic French family and gained fame as a painter, print-maker, draughtsman and illustrator. His name and work is synonymous with the Art Nouveau movement. He immersed himself in his painting and the colorful night-life of Montmartre, capturing the seedier side of Paris and making it appear inviting and exciting. Mocked for his short stature he turned to alcohol and died of alcoholism and syphilis at 36. Although his career spanned only 20 years he is recognized as one of the great painters of the post-impressionist period.
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