Lot 149
  • 149


500,000 - 700,000 USD
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
  • Bar-maid
  • Signed Lautrec and dedicated à Maurice Joyant (lower right)
  • Pastel on paper
  • 25 1/2 by 19 1/4 in.
  • 64.7 by 48.8 cm
  • Executed in 1898.


Maurice Joyant, Paris (acquired from the artist)
Madame Dortu, Paris
Private Collection
Walco, Ltd., Geneva
Acquired from the above on November 10, 2004


Paris, Galerie Manzi-Joyant, Exposition rétospective de l'oeuvre de H. de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1914, no. 62
Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Exposition de H. de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1931, no. 190
London, M. Knoedler & Co., Inc. & Paris, Galerie M. Knoedler, Toulouse-Lautrec Paintings and Drawings: Loan Exhibition for the Benefit of the Musée d'Albi, 1938, illustrated in the catalogue (no. 27 in London & no. 39 in Paris)
Paris, Musée de l'Orangerie, Toulouse-Lautrec: Exposition en l'honneur du cinquantième anniversaire de sa mort, 1951, no. 113, illustrated in the catalogue


Maurice Joyant, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, vol. II, Paris, 1927, n.n.illustrated in color p. 288
Maurice Joyant, "Toulouse-Lautrec," in L'Art et les artistes, Paris, February 1927, n.n., illustrated p. 160
The Scotsman, Edinburgh, January 1938, mentioned n.p. 
The Times, London, January 1938, mentioned n.p.
The Illustrated London News, London, January 1938, illustrated p. 142
The Birmingham Post, Birmingham, January 1938, mentioned n.p.
The Queen, London, February 1938, mentioned p. 28
Le Figaro, Paris, March 1938, mentioned p. 5 
Jean Cassou, "T.-Lautrec," in L'Art et les Artistes, Paris, April 1938, illustrated p. 232
Jacques Lassaigne, Toulouse Lautrec, New York, 1939, illustrated p. 143
Michael Florisoone, "Toulouse Lautrec," in Art et Style, New York, 1951, no. 19, illustrated n.p.
M.G. Dortu, Toulouse Lautrec, Paris, 1952, mentioned p. 8
Hanspeter Landolt, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: Drawings and Sketches in Colour, Basel, 1955, illustrated in color pl. 28 
M.G. Dortu, Toulouse-Lautrec et son oeuvre, vol. III, New York, 1971, no. 671, illustrated p. 411


Executed on green-colored wove paper. The sheet has been mounted to a board along the edges of its verso. The sheet is undulating. There are minor losses and nicks along the edges, including a small crescent shapes tear at the center of the bottom edge. There is some paper adhered to the edges from a former mounting. The work is slightly time faded overall. The work is in good condition.
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

In turn-of-the-century Paris, Toulouse-Lautrec had no rival as chief chronicler of café culture and night life. Born into an aristocratic French family in 1864, Lautrec spent much of his life among the Parisian demimonde, revealing his genius in sharp, analytical portrayals of the twilight world. With almost 300 cafés opening between 1890 and 1900, fin-de-siècle Parisian nightlife was ever growing. A brilliant interpreter of this lively and debauched world, Lautrec did not limit himself—as so many of his contemporaries had done—to 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 humanity that lay beneath the illusory social façades of his subjects.

Portraiture played an important role in Toulouse-Lautrec’s oeuvre, and he approached his sitters with a keen psychological acuity. Freed from the necessity of seeking portrait commissions due to his family’s wealth, the artist rarely flattered or yielded too greatly to convention in his portraits. He also felt free to cross class boundaries, choosing between artists and performers, or the working class and his own social circle of friends and family members. His interest in the complex nature of each sitter’s personality naturally led him toward the habit of executing multiple renderings of favored models. The present work reflects Lautrec’s fundamental ability to express the emotional and psychological tensions of human relations.

An exceptional example of the artist’s portraiture, Bar-maid captures an archetypal figure in Lautrec’s world. With the growth of Parisian nightlife, scores of women were hired to staff the flourishing café-concerts, theaters and brasseries of Montmartre and Montparnasse. Unconstrained by bourgeois conventions, such women learned to navigate the intricacies of class and economics that populated their new world. Traced in light strokes of pastel, the central figure of Bar-maid personifies this growing population as she serves an absinthe-drinking patron in suit and bowler hat. While Manet’s Un bar aux Folies Bergère presented such a woman to a scandalized Salon, more than a decade later it would be Lauturec who fully captured the psychological experience of life in the demimonde (see fig. 1).