Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, ‘Elles - Before Lettering ’, 1896, Omnibus Gallery

Year: 1896
Country: France
Condition: A
The Elles collection is Lautrec’s famous brothel series, an edition of lithographs depicting prostitutes simply referred to as Elles (A group of women). Although the women of the Elles series are prostitutes, they appear de-sexualized, shown in postures that emphasize the everyday and un-glamorous nature of their occupation. In this instance, putting her hair back up after finishing with a client; the only indication that a man is even in the room is his top hat resting gingerly on her bed. It was the pictorial epilogue to what Toulouse Lautrec had experienced in the maisons of the rue des Moulins, the rue d’Amboise, and the rue Joubert. Lautrec used to say, "Elles" are "women to my liking," and he often lived with them for weeks at a time during the years 1892 to 1895, a constant witness of their daily lives, of their suffering and intimacy. This is the rare before-lettering version. There are only FOUR known copies.

Signature: Signed in stone by artist, can be seen under under "Elles par."

About Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Renowned Post-Impressionist painter, lithographer, and art nouveau illustrator Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is famous for his depictions of French fin de siècle urban life. Working in his characteristic linear style, Lautrec frequently portrayed scenes from brothels and cabaret clubs, including the Moulin Rouge, where he had a seat reserved after producing a series of promotional posters for the club’s opening in 1888. Lautrec was influenced by the artists Edgar Degas and Édouard Manet, who shared with them a keen interest in the observation of social culture.

French, 1864-1901, Albi, France, based in Paris, France