Femme Nue Assisse Sur Un Divan by Toulouse-Lautrec

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This is an engraving in black ink in 1926 called “A Naked Woman Sitting on a Couch.” It is

Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa (24 November 1864 – 9 September 1901), commonly known as just Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was a French painter (starting when he was just 8 years old), print maker, draftsman, caricaturist, and illustrator whose immersion in the colorful and theatrical life of Paris in the late 19th century allowed him to produce a collection of enticing, elegant, and provocative images of the modern, sometimes decadent, affairs of those times. He “documented” the Bohemian lifestyle. His original paintings have sold for over $22 million.

He was born into an aristocratic family, but his parents were interrelated which caused him to have many health problems, including his stunted growth. He broke his right femur at age 13, then his left at age 14. Neither breaks completely healed and his legs stopped growing. His height as an adult stunted at 4’ 8”. He was in frequent pain and drank large amounts of alcohol to cope.

He moved to Paris with his mother then discovered Montmartre. It was his home for the next 20 years of his life. He frequently prostitutes and drank. He enjoyed painting prostitutes as “A model is always a stuffed doll, but these women are alive.”

In 1889, the famous Red Windmill cabaret opened—the Moulin Rouge—and he was commissioned to produce a series of posters for the cabaret. Other artists thought him compromised, but Henri had a stable and steady income and a seat always reserved for him at the Cabaret. He traveled to London on occasion, spoke English quite well and befriended and defended Oscar Wilde. He even painted Wilde.

His alcoholism caused him to be committed into a sanatorium for three months where he drew circus portraits. He developed syphilis, too, and died of complications of that and alcohol at age 36. His artwork was promoted by his mother and his art dealer, Maurice Joyant, which is why many pieces were printed as lithographs and engravings long after his death in 1901. Most of his works are in the Musee Toulouse-Lautrec in Albi, which houses over 1000 works by the artist. It opened in 1922 and his mother donated the majority of the works.

In his short life, he is credited with having over 6,000 drawings, paintings, watercolors, prints and posters, some ceramic and stained glass. The image size is 7.5″ x 10″ in a matte and frame: 17″ x 16″. It was printed in 1926 and only 175 exist.

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