La Passagère du 54, ou Promenade en Yacht

La Passagère du 54, ou Promenade en Yacht
lithograph in colors, on wove paper, 1896, a fine impression of the second state (of three), before lettering, signed in pencil, from the edition of fifty, with the artist's lifetime orange-red monogram stamp (see Lugt 1338), the colors fresh, the sheet slightly reduced on three sides, fractionally into the subject at the lower left, with four short repaired tears at the lower sheet edge, framed
Image: 24 x 17 5/8 in. (610 x 447 mm.)
Sheet: 24 5/8 x 18 ¼ in. (625 x 463 mm.)
Franz Wilhelm Koenigs (1881-1941), Haarlem.
Acquired by the above circa 1900-1920 (according to the family); thence by descent to the present owner.
Delteil 366; Adhémar 188; Wittrock P20; Adriani 137

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Lot Essay

'As the story is told [Lautrec], Guibert and their friends set off in early August [1895] in high spirits with a case of wine and champagne, on a cargo liner called the Chili, to cruise down the coast from Le Havre to Lisbon...
Aboard the ship, they saw a lovely young woman travelling with her daughter and their poodle, on their way, it was said, to join her husband, a colonial civil servant in Dakar. Henri was enchanted by her beauty, and a...marvellous lithographic poster...survives to document his infatuation. According to Joyant, Henri was so taken with her that Guibert had a hard time getting him to leave the ship at Lisbon. He wanted to follow her to Dakar.
It is not known whether he ever actually spoke to his perhaps unwitting model. The title of the work implies that he did not know her name, and his lithograph shows her from a viewpoint which suggests she may not ever have realised she was being observed...Joyant later called Henri's litho "an exquisite thing, in its tone, its elegance, in its mood of indolence, in the way it conveys the delight of being alive, with eyes idly wandering, on a fine day".' (Julia Frey, Toulouse-Lautrec - A Life, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1994, pp. 413-4.)

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