M. Fiquet, Paris
Roy J. Carver, Iowa
Sale: Christie's, New York, 15th November 1983, lot 61
Sale: Christie's, New York, 5th May 2005, lot 227
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner
Maurice Joyant, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paris, 1926, illustrated p. 257
Gotthard Jedlicka, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Berlin, 1928, p. 387
Walter Kern, Toulouse-Lautrec, Bern, 1948, p. 18
Douglas Cooper, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, New York, 1966, p. 47
Denys Sutton & G.M. Sugana, The Complete Paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec, New York, 1969, no. 524a, illustrated p. 120
M.G. Dortu, Toulouse-Lautrec et son œuvre, New York, 1971, vol. III, no. P.721, illustrated p. 441
Bruno Foucart, Tout l'œuvre peint de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paris, 1986, no. 667, illustrated p. 129
Exhibition at Galerie Paul Rosenberg, showing the present work, Paris, 1914
The present work was executed in Paris between late April and mid July during the final act of Lautrec's career, before his tragic demise brought about by chronic alcoholism on 9th September 1901. Right up until his untimely death, Toulouse Lautrec was to remain an acute observer of social behavior, and the subject of this work is the disengaged voyeurism of Parisian fashionable society. The archetypal Lautrec motif of being led into the scene over the shoulder of a rear three-quarter profile places both the viewer and the artist in the role of flâneur, both playing witness to and participating in the act of disassociated watching. At the same time Lautrec incites our curiosity and ignorance as the object of the woman's gaze is in fact directed outside the picture frame; indeed, the mystery of the scene is accentuated by the viewer's inability to discern the physiognomy of the central female in the white dress. The flâneur is therefore reduced to a peripheral spectator, observing but unable to interpret or interact with the social scene.
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