In 1896 Lautrec published a series of 11 Lithographs depicting some of Paris's best known prostitutes. This is the design for the cover of the series and the poster used to advertise that exhibition. The cover of the series is in black and white.
An original copy of the poster recently sold at auction for more than $30,000.00, making this high quality lithograph a very affordable option.
The prostitutes of Montmartre were Lautrec's friends and intimates. 'They are to my liking' as Lautrec used to say and he often lived with them for weeks at a time and was a constant witness to their daily lives of suffering and intimacy. In his presence they were just women and he treated them as equals.
Unlike his previous drawings of prostitutes, this series did not group them together, but featured them as individuals ~ in their bedrooms or characteristically with a man. The focus is on the woman satisfying the needs of men and does not high-light the women's private preferences.
They take us through a typical day. From waking up, bathing, dressing and putting on make-up, to undressing and resting on the bed after the days' performances are over.
The main figure featured is Cha-U-Kao, a lesbian prostitute at the Moulin Rouge who was also known as The Clownesse. She is the main subject of this Lithograph.
The critics were disappointed by the Elles exhibition as they were expecting something rather more lascivious and titillating, but this was not Lautrec's style. He preferred to portray life as an amused observation.
Signed in the plate and measuring 14" x 10" this limited edition Lithograph was made by Imprimerie Julien of Paris in 1930 using the stone lithographic process, and is in Condition A. It is one of a series of Lithographs by Lautrec that I am listing.
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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