Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
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Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
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On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more The Cox Collection: The Story of Impressionism

La Goulue en Almée

La Goulue en Almée
indistinctly signed 'HTLautrec' (lower left)
oil and peinture à l'essence on board
27 x 19 in. (68.6 x 48.4 cm.)
Painted in 1895
Baumgarten collection.
Maurice Joyant, Paris.
Madeleine Grillaert Dortu, Paris (by 1931).
Jean-Alain Méric, Paris (by descent from the above, 1984).
Wildenstein & Co. Inc., New York (acquired from the above, 1985).
Acquired from the above by the late owner, 9 December 1985.
M. Joyant, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paris, 1926, p. 290 (illustrated in color, p. 188).
G. Jedlicka, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Berlin, 1929 (illustrated in color on the frontispiece).
H. Focillon, "Lautrec" in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, June 1931, vol. V, p. 366 (illustrated, fig. 1).
E. Schaub-Koch, Psychanalyse d'un peintre moderne, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paris, 1935, p. 205.
J. Bouret, "Danse et divertissements" in Arts, no. 193, 17 December 1948, p. 5 (illustrated).
M.-G. Dortu et al., "Toulouse Lautrec" in Art et Style, no. 19, 1951 (illustrated).
F. Jourdain, Lautrec, Braun, 1951 (illustrated in color, pl. 20).
H. Landolt, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, dessins en couleurs, Basel, 1955, p. 25, no. 13 (illustrated in color).
C. Roger-Marx, "Lautrec, visionnaire de la réalité" in J. Adhémer et al., Collection Génies et Réalités, Toulouse-Lautrec, Paris, 1962, p. 131 (illustrated).
P. Huisman and M.G. Dortu, Lautrec par Lautrec, Paris, 1964, p. 88 (detail illustrated in color).
R. Cogniat, Lautrec, Paris, 1966, p. 36 (detail illustrated in color).
M.-G. Dortu, Toulouse-Lautrec et son oeuvre, New York, 1971, vol. III, p. 362, no. P. 590 (illustrated, p. 363).
G. Caproni and G.M. Sugana, L'Opera completa di Toulouse-Lautrec, Milan, 1977, pp. 113-114, no. 418Bb (illustrated, p. 113).
Paris, Galerie Manzi-Joyant, Exposition rétrospective de l'oeuvre de H. de Toulouse-Lautrec, June-July 1914, p. 14, no. 64.
Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Exposition H. de Toulouse-Lautrec, April-May 1931, no. 143 (with incorrect cataloguing).
London, M. Knoedler and Co., Toulouse-Lautrec, Paintings and Drawings, January-February 1938, p. 17, no. 29 (illustrated, p. 16, fig. 29).
Paris, Galerie M. Knoedler et Cie., Toulouse-Lautrec, March 1938, no. 28.
Basel, Kunsthalle, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, May-June 1947, p. 21, no. 134.
Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Toulouse-Lautrec, 1947, no. 40 (with incorrect dimensions).
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, July-August 1947, p. 9, no. 40.
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., La douceur de vivre, au profit de l'oeuvre des détresses cachées, September-October 1948, no. 36.
Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Danse et divertissements, 1948-1949, no. 215.
Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries, Toulouse-Lautrec, May-August 1951, p. 22, no. 60 (illustrated, pl. 8).
Albi, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec, Toulouse-Lautrec, ses amis et ses maitres, August-October 1951, p. 18, no. 132.
Albi, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris, Petit Palais, Centenaire de Toulouse-Lautrec, June-December 1964, no. 65 (illustrated, p. 78, pl. 65).
Kyoto, National Museum of Modern Art and Tokyo, National Museum of Western Art, Toulouse-Lautrec, November 1968-February 1969, no. 41 (illustrated in color).
Special notice
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Adrien Meyer
Adrien Meyer Global Head, Private Sales, Co-Chairman, Impressionist & Modern Art

Lot Essay

With her hands on her hips, head raised, and her gaze direct and unflinching, the charismatic female figure of the present work can be none other than La Goulue, the famed French dancer and star of Paris’s notorious cabaret, the Moulin Rouge. With a flurry of fast, expressive, deft strokes, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec has masterfully conjured her frilly, full-skirted can-can costume and the haughty demeanor that he had so brilliantly captured a few years earlier in La Goulue à la Moulin Rouge (Dortu, P. 422; The Museum of Modern Art, New York).
Arriving in Paris in 1870 aged four as a refugee in the Franco-Prussian war, Louise Weber, as she was born, grew up in the city, at first pursuing the typical means of making a living—working as a flower seller, a laundress, and likely at times relying on prostitution as a way of getting by. It is not known how or when she started dancing professionally, but as early as 1885, her renown was such that she was mentioned in a popular novel of the time, and she featured in a drawing by Jean François Raffaëlli that was exhibited in 1887.
La Goulue— supposedly named as such due to her penchant for downing members of her audience’s drinks mid-performance—quickly became famed for performing a contemporary dance form, the chahut, its name derived from chahuter—to cause a disturbance. Performed in a quadrille with her partner, Valentin le Désossé, this exaggerated type of can-can dancing was known for its provocative eroticism and daring moves, and could be seen in the leading dance halls that had proliferated in Paris at this time. Acclaimed Montmartre venues such as the Jardin de Paris and the Moulin Rouge, which opened in 1889, drew wide and varied audiences, offering everything from donkey rides to café-concerts by singers such as Yvette Guilbert, as well as the racy dance shows of La Goulue. She became one of the leading stars of the Moulin Rouge and one of the highest paid performers of her time. A review of 1891 described, “La Goulue had just performed an indescribable movement: leaping like a mad goat, bending her body so much as to convince you she was about to break in half, and the folds of her skirt virtually on fire. The public stamped their feet in rapture” (quoted in Toulouse-Lautrec, exh. cat., Hayward Gallery, London, 1991, p. 248).
It is no surprise that the “Queen of Montmartre,” as she was sometimes known, drew the attention of this hedonistic kingdom’s resident artist, Lautrec. In 1891, Lautrec designed the famous poster of La Goulue at the Moulin Rouge. It was this period that saw the artist immerse himself in the heady world of the dance halls, reveling in the depiction of their stars and audiences, the performances and the back stage antics, as he sought to capitalize on the success of his poster. The dynamic mix of stardom and controversy, eroticism and femininity that La Goulue embodied found its way into Lautrec’s depictions of her, charging these works with an arresting power that still captivates today.
By 1895, La Goulue’s star had begun to fade. She had stopped performing at the Moulin Rouge, instead staging a belly-dancing act in a fairground at the Foire de Trône in Paris. In April of this year, she wrote to Lautrec asking if he could create some paintings to decorate her stand, “My dear friend, I shall come to see you on 8 April, at two in the afternoon, my booth will be at the Trône, where I am on the left as you go in. I’ve got a very good pitch, and I shall be glad if you can find time to paint something for me; just tell me where to buy the canvases, and I’ll let you have them the same day” (ibid., p. 270). The resultant works, both of which, despite being cut up, remarkably survived to the present day (Dortu, P. 592 and P. 591, Musée d’Orsay, Paris), picture the inside of La Goulue’s booth. In one, La danse mauresque ou Les Almées, the dancer is shown in the midst of performing one of her signature high kicks, adorned in a bolero and the diaphanous layers of an almée—nods to the Orientalist origins of her performance. The present La Goulue en Almée appears closely linked to this work, with La Goulue sporting a similar costume, her hair piled atop her head in her signature style.

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