Lot 56
  • 56

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

3,000,000 - 5,000,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
  • Monsieur Caudieux, acteur de CafĂ© concert
  • Signed with the monogram (lower right)
  • Gouache and pencil on paper
  • 26 3/4 by 19 5/8 in.
  • 67.9 by 49.8 cm


Boussod, Valadon & Cie., Paris

Paul Cassirer, Berlin

Mrs. Thomas Newell Metcalf (née Elizabeth Paine), Brookline, Massachusetts (by 1935)

Private Collection (sale: Sotheby's, New York, November 15, 1989, lot 32)

Private Collection


New York, Wildenstein, Toulouse-Lautrec, 1946, no. 24

Madrid, Fundación Juan March, Toulouse-Lautrec de Albi y de otras colecciónes, 1996-97, no. 18, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Toulouse-Lautrec. Das gesamte graphische Werk, Bildstudien und Gemälde, 2005, no. XIV, illustrated in color in the catalogue and detail illustrated on the back cover


Gustave Geffroy, 'Le Plaisir à Paris: Les restaurants et les cafés-concerts des Champs-Elysées', in Le Figaro illustré, no. 40, July 1893, illustrated

Maurice Joyant, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, peintre, Paris, 1926, illustrated p. 173 (titled Caudieux dans sa loge. L'Homme Canon)

René Huyghe, 'Aspects de Toulouse-Lautrec', in L'Amour de l'Art, XII, no. 4, April 1931, fig. 25, illustrated p. 155

Emile Schaub Koch, Phychanalyse d'un peintre moderne. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paris, 1935, pp. 203 & 208

Gerstle Mack, Toulouse-Lautrec, New York, 1938, p. 192

Oeuvre graphique de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paris, 1951, cited under no. 38

Giorgio Caproni & G. M. Sugana, L'Opera completa di Toulouse-Lautrec, Milan, 1969, no. 366A, illustrated p. 109

M. G. Dortu, Toulouse-Lautrec et son oeuvre, New York, 1971, vol. II, no. P.473, illustrated p. 287

Toulouse-Lautrec: Paintings (exhibition catalogue), The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 1979, fig. 2, illustrated p. 203

Toulouse-Lautrec: The Baldwin M. Baldwin Collection (exhibition catalogue), San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, 1980, cited under no. 86 and note 1, p. 212

Bruno Foucart & G. M. Sugana, Tout l'œuvre peint de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paris, 1986, no. 472Aa, illustrated p. 117

Toulouse-Lautrec (exhibition catalogue), Fondation Pierra Gianadda, Martigny, 1987, illustrated pp. 48 & 126

Herbert D. Schimmel (ed.), The Letters of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Oxford, 1991, mentioned in note 1, p. 215

Edouard Julien, Toulouse-Lautrec, New York, 1991, illustrated in color p. 59

Toulouse-Lautrec (exhibition catalogue), Hayward Gallery, London & Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, 1991-92, p. 207 and note 7

Toulouse-Lautrec: Uno sguardo dentro la vita (exhibition catalogue), Complesso del Vittoriano, Rome, 2003-04, illustrated p. 67


Very good condition in general. The artist rendered the composition on two layered sheets of paper -- one on top of the other -- that have been laid down on board. The top sheet is darker and slighly smaller than the bottom sheet, and the distinction between the two sheets is visible in the catalogue. There are some handling marks along the extreme periphery which are mostly covered by the current frame, along with some losses to the top sheet at the edges. There is a scuff/loss to the orange medium at the bottom of the figure's leg, and a horizontal line of abrasion about 1-inch from the top edge. There are a few, pin-point specks of foxing on the figure's abdomen and elbow. Over all, the medium is fresh and vibrant.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1893, the present work is an exceptional example of Toulouse-Lautrec’s portraiture, as well as of his remarkably modern style.  The subject of this intimate portrait was a popular comedian Albert Caudieux, who performed at Le Petit Casino, Les Ambassadeurs and L’Eldorado, fashionable Parisian café-concertsthat were frequented by Toulouse-Lautrec.  

The artist executed several portraits of Caudieux; in the present work, as well as in its preparatory study now in the collection of the Musée Toulouse-Lautrec in Albi, the actor is depicted in an intimate setting of a dressing room, applying make-up as he prepares for a performance.  In a poster Caudieux and its preparatory study executed in peinture à l’essence, he is depicted in a formal attire, dashing across the stage. Caudieux achieved a certain level of fame in 1893 with his comedy acts and dances, and it was during this year that Toulouse-Lautrec executed several further drawings and lithographs of him.


Known as l’homme-canon (‘a human cannon-ball’) due to his abrupt moves, Caudieux was celebrated for his humour and his large belly, emphasized here by the profile portrayal.  Charles F. Stuckey wrote about Toulouse-Lautrec’s depictions of this model: "Lautrec was in great demand as an illustrator in 1893, when two magazines, Echo de Paris and Le Figaro Illustré, ran features about cabaret performers and Parisian night-life to which he contributed. For each issue Lautrec depicted Caudieux, a rotund cabaret singer, first doing a jig then powdering his face in a dressing room.  In addition to the illustrations, Lautrec was commissioned to make a poster for Caudieux during the same year […] which was subsequently reproduced in an article in Le Monde modern praising modern poster art" (C.F. Stuckey in Toulouse-Lautrec: Paintings (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 203).


Portraiture played an important role in Toulouse-Lautrec’s oeuvre, and he approached the portrayal of his sitters with a keen psychological acuity.  Freed from the necessity of seeking portrait commissions due to his family’s wealth, the artist rarely practiced flattery or yielded too greatly to convention in his portraits.  He was also free to cross class boundaries, choosing between artists and performers, or the working class and his own elite circle of friends and family members.  His interest in the complex nature of each sitter’s personality naturally led him towards the habit of executing multiple renderings of favored sitters.  The present work reflects Lautrec’s fundamental goal throughout his career, which was to explore and express the emotional and psychological realities that underlie human experience.


As a chronicler of popular culture and the night life in turn-of-the-century Paris, Toulouse-Lautrec had no rivals.  Born into an aristocratic French family, Lautrec spent much of his life among the Parisian demi-monde, revealing his genius in sharp, analytical portrayals of the twilight world of the fin-de-siècle metropolis.  A brilliant interpreter of this lively world, Lautrec was not interested – as so many of his contemporaries were – in social critique.  Whether it was the quick sketch of a face, the curving lines of a group of dancers, a scene in a café, at the Théâtre des Variétés or in a maison close, he succeeded in capturing the timeless humanity that lay beneath the façades of his subjects.


In the present work, the actor is portrayed in a private moment, absorbed in his activity of preparing for a stage appearance, seemingly unaware that he is being watched and captured by the artist.  The intimate atmosphere of the scene is amplified by the enclosed surroundings of a small room.  Although he painted Caudieux in an interior setting, the artist’s attention is almost entirely on the figure; the furnishings are reduced to a minimum that gives the viewer a simple indication of the setting of the scene. 


Mary Weaver Chapin wrote about Toulouse-Lautrec’s fascination with the café-concerts: "Of all the pleasures of Paris – the dance halls, circuses, cabarets, and brothels – it was the café-concert and its stars that cast the greatest spell on Toulouse-Lautrec.  He developed what he called furias, intense obsessions, with certain performers who would enthrall him for a single season or several years.  Lautrec would return night after night, recording the gestures, facial expressions, and postures that made each performer unique" (M. Weaver Chapin in Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre (exhibition catalogue), National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. & The Art Institute of Chicago, 2005, p. 137).