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L'enfant au chien, fils de Madame Marthe et la chienne Pamela-Taussat

L'enfant au chien, fils de Madame Marthe et la chienne Pamela-Taussat
oil on canvas
51 ¼ x 28 in. (127.6 x 71.1 cm.)
Painted in 1900
Dr. Georges Viau, Paris, by 1902.
Anonymous sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 6 June 1907, lot 32.
Pierre Baudin, Paris, by 1914; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 16 March 1921, lot 27.
Jos Hessel, Paris.
Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Paris, by whom acquired on 18 September 1936.
Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York, by whom acquired from the above in 1936.
Chauncey D. Stillman, Millbrook, by whom acquired from the above on 26 October 1936, and thence by descent; sale, Christie's, New York, 15 May 2017, lot 54A.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
G. Coquiot, Lautrec, ou quinze ans de mœurs parisiennes, 1885-1900, Paris, 1921, pp. 161 & 212 (titled 'Enfant avec la chienne Paméla').
M. Joyant, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Peintre, Paris, 1926, p. 299.
E. Schaub-Koch, Psychanalyse d'un peintre moderne, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paris, 1935, p. 41.
M.G. Dortu, Toulouse-Lautrec et son œuvre, vol. III, New York, 1971, no. P.700, p. 426 (illustrated p. 427).
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., H. de Toulouse-Lautrec, May 1902, no. 96, p. 25.
Paris, Galeries Paul Rosenberg, Toulouse-Lautrec, January-February 1914, no. 1, p. 3.
Paris, Galerie Manzi Joyant, Exposition rétrospective de l'œuvre de H. de Toulouse-Lautrec, June - July 1914, no. 21, p. 10.
New York, Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., French Masters from Courbet to Seurat, March - April 1937, no. 21.
New York, Wildenstein & Co., Inc., A Loan Exhibition of Toulouse-Lautrec for the Benefit of The Goddard Neighborhood Center, October - November 1946, no. 33, p. 36.
Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, Paintings, Drawings, Prints and Posters by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, March - April 1947, no. 2, p. 11 (illustrated).
New York, Wildenstein & Co., Inc., Loan Exhibition: Toulouse-Lautrec, February - March 1964, no. 53 (illustrated; with incorrect medium)
Sale Room Notice
Please note this lot is offered without reserve.

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Lot Essay

In the tradition of a 17th century Van Dyck portrait of a young English prince posing with his favorite canine companion, Lautrec painted the life-size L’Enfant au chien in the latter half of 1900. The young boy, attired in French naval livery, is known only as the son of Madame Marthe X., presumably a lady of high standing in Bordeaux society, whose portrait Lautrec also painted during this time, using a smaller format, in his most sumptuous manner (Dortu, P. 699). The dog is Lautrec’s own, which he named Pamela. Working in his studio, the artist placed his subject in a marine setting that represents the beach at Taussat-les-bains on the Bassin d’Arcachon, a resort area for nearby Bordeaux.
Having sufficiently recovered from an overwhelming mental and physical collapse, brought on by alcoholism and an altogether dissolute night life, Lautrec’s two-and-a-half-month confinement in Dr. Sémelaigne’s Neuilly clinic came to an end in May 1899. At his mother’s insistence, the artist was entrusted to the guardianship of Paul Viaud de la Teste, a distant relative who grew up in Bordeaux. A teetotaler, Viaud became Lautrec’s constant companion, his “cornac” (“elephant-driver”), as the artist fondly called him. Keeping Lautrec away from his old haunts in Montmartre, Viaud realized, was key to the artist’s continuing convalescence, and they spent the summer on the coast, in Normandy and at Taussat. When they returned to Paris that fall, however, Lautrec quickly reverted to his accustomed self-destructive behavior, which Viaud was at a loss to control.
In June 1900 the two men travelled again to Taussat for the summer, and in October moved to Bordeaux, where they rented rooms at 66, rue de Caudéran. The local dealer Imberti lent the artist use of a studio on rue Porte-Dijeaux. “I am working very hard,” Lautrec wrote to Maurice Joyant on 6 December 1900. “You will soon have some shipments” (H.D. Schimmel, ed., Letters, no. 598). Among the paintings he completed by that date were the portraits of Madame Marthe X. and her son.
The center of attraction for Lautrec in Bordeaux was the city’s lively theater scene. “[Offenbach’s opéra-bouffe] La belle Hélène is charming us here [at the Théâtre Français],” Lautrec wrote to Joyant, “it is admirably staged; I have already caught the thing [Dortu, P 265]” (ibid.). Lautrec had long been fascinated with the story of Valeria Messalina, wife of the Roman emperor Claudius, infamous for her corruption and debauchery. He was delighted to attend on 19 December the French premiere of Silvestre and Morand’s play Messaline, with music by the English composer Isidore de Lara, at the Grand Théâtre in Bordeaux. He praised Thérèse Ganne in the title role—“She is divine.” Having attended numerous performances, Lautrec painted four canvases depicting scenes in the play, evoking history as theater (Dortu, P. 703-706). Madame Marthe X. may have been affiliated with the production, as a participant or patroness. “I am very satisfied,” Lautrec wrote to Joyant of his recent work in Bordeaux, as he and Viaud prepared to return to Paris in April 1901 (Letters, no. 606).

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