Lautrec represented lesbians and the affectionate relationships between the filles de maison regularly throughout the 1890's. He began with closed, intimate scenes, depicting couples in bed or embracing on a brothel divan, but as the decade progressed he moved the enounters to public locations, bars such as Le Hanneton and La Souris, or here, the Moulin-Rouge.
Closely related to an oil painting executed five years earlier, this scene shows (on the right) the female clown Cha-U-Kao (a name derived from a particularly riotous dance known as the 'chahut-chaos') who performed extraordinary gymnastic feats, dancing with what one could presume to be her lover. Also visible, with her back towards us, is the dancer Jane Avril, and two of Toulouse-Lautrec's male friends, to the extreme left the French painter François Gauzi, and to the extreme right the decadent Australian Charles Conder.
The present impression is one of the few examples still in private hands. Whereas twelve of the edition of twenty are known to be in public collections, no accurate estimate exists as to how many of the remaining eight survive to this day.