Toulouse-Lautrec and His Muse

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Jane Avril, 1893. Sold on December 19, 2007 for $36,000.

When it comes to vintage poster design, one of the first images people conjure is that of Jane Avril, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's famous cancan dancer, her stockinged leg exposed from under a ruffled skirt. Avril was Toulouse-Lautrec's friend and muse, and their partnership advanced both of their careers. That relationship is explored in the current exhibition, Toulouse-Lautrec and Jane Avril: Beyond the Moulin Rouge at London's The Courtauld Institute of Art. 


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, La Vache Enragee, 1896. Estimate: $10,000 to $15,000. 

Rare posters by Toulouse-Lautrec from the estate of Mitch Miller are also included in Swann's August 3rd Vintage Posters auction. La Vache Enragee [The Mad Cow], was an illustrated magazine published only twice—once in 1896 and again in 1897. Each publication coincided with the major Montmartre event, the Fête de la Vache Enragée. His poster of May Belfort, depicts the Irish performer who amused him by singing, "I've got a little cat, I'm very fond of that." 

L: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, May Belfort, 1895. Estimate: $20,000 to $30,000. R: Toulouse-Lautrec, Deuxième Volume de Bruant, 1893. Estimate: $7,000 to $10,000.

Another mutually beneficial relationship for subject and artist was that between Lautrec and cabaret performer Aristide Bruant. Their collaborations were so legendary that in this example, Deuxième Volume de Bruant, the performer needn't show his face, his back is immediately recognizable. 

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