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Rare Original L'Estampe Original Cover by Henri de Toulouse Lautrec 1893

L'Estampe Originale Cover

Regular price
$85,000
Sale price
$85,000
1893
32.5" x 23" - 83cm x 58cm
13410

This rare print by Henri de Toulouse Lautrec was the cover for the first edition of L’Estampe Originale in 1893. L’Estampe Originale was a subscription editorial created for the art community in Paris by Andre Marty, and focused on raising the profile of printmaking as a serious artform. Only 100 editions were printed of each of the 9 issues created from 1893 - 1895, many of which live in the permanent collections of important museums such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Van Gogh Museum. Each edition featured examples of the highly artistic nature of printmaking, from artists such as Lautrec, Paul Gauguin, and Auguste Renoir. This cover is signed in pencil by Lautrec and numbered 45/100, with a blind stamp authenticating it.

When Marty set out to create L’Estampe Originale, Lautrec would have been his natural first choice to create the cover of the first edition. An early adopter of printmaking in the Belle Epoque scene, Lautrec was a master of the medium and keen to share the benefits of the technique for creating not just posters but fine art prints. Lautrec has depicted here a scene that highlights two important people in his life, in a setting that felt like home to him - the print studio. In the foreground, we see one of Lautrec’s closest friends and fiercest allies, the famed cabaret performer Jane Avril. Completely covered but for her hands and face, we are meant to see Jane in a different light than the public was used to. We are far from the raucous world of the Moulin Rouge, where her limbs flung wildly dancing the can-can. Here she is a serious and independent businesswoman, inspecting what we can assume is the latest poster promoting her revue. In the background we see noted master-printer, Pere Cotelle, hard at work in the shop of Eduoard Ancourt. Cotelle was beloved by Lautrec and his peers for helping bring their visions to reality. It was a time of intimate collaboration between artist and printer, and Lautrec was known to be heavily involved in the printing process.

The entire composition is Lautrec at his most comfortable and free; depicting people who cared for him, in a setting he was accustomed to, and in a style that showcased his love of flattened planes and simplified forms.

Henri de Toulouse Lautrec (1864-1901), had a short life in which he created an extensive amount of groundbreaking art in the form of paintings, drawings, and prints. Born into an aristocratic family, Lautrec had a series of birth defects as a result of genetic inbreeding. Stunted in height (he was under 5 feet tall) and emotionally damaged from a sterile childhood, Lautrec lived a life in the shadows. His bohemian lifestyle in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris inspired Lautrec to highlight the darker underbelly of Parisian society. This alternative lifestyle manifested itself directly in Lautrec’s art – broad flat planes of color were drawn from his time in opium dens filled with Asian woodblock prints, strong shadows came from his nightly visits to the Moulin Rouge (where he had a reserved seat) with its warm gas lighting, and his fervent use of line stemmed from the joie de vivre that flowed out of the cabaret and can-can moves of the Parisian stage performers.

This is an Original Poster; it is not a reproduction. This poster is conservation mounted, linen backed and in excellent condition. We guarantee the authenticity of all of our posters. This poster is currently framed in a period-style frame that is included in the price of the piece, should it be of interest.

English