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The Irish American Bar at 33 rue Royale, was furnished in gleaming mahogany, and had a Chinese-Indian barkeeper called Ralph, who stoically served the British jockeys and trainers and the local coachmen who frequented the bar. Before Lautrec had created this poster, he had drawn similar bar scenes with the unmistakable figure of Ralph behind the bar. Also in this poster, on the far right, is the florid figure of Tom the Rothschild's coachman, a particular favorite of Lautrec for his "supercilious manner is being served by Ralph with a special concoction" (Adriani, p. 196). Julia Frey, (The art historian and author of Toulouse Lautrec: A Life) makes it clear that the subject of this poster was also a home-away-from-home for Lautrec; he, "let people know he could be found every afternoon in a certain bar. For several years from 1894 onward, it was the Irish and American Bar. There, it is said, Henri presided over the clients in the bar as he had over his house guests, insisting to Ralph that people he didn't like not be admitted" (Frey, p. 390) He also tended bar there from time to time. They installed a platform for him to stand on so he could be at a serviceable height.
This graphic was published by the magazine La Plume to advertise the American literary periodical The Chap Book.
Signature: Signed in stone by the artist, lower left corner.
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
What Is Art Nouveau?
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