Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901), Mademoiselle Cha-u-kao, The Seated Clowness, 1896, color lithograph on thin white vellum, “G. Pellet/T. Lautrec” watermark, annotated by the publisher Pellet, 40.1 x 52.2 cm/15.7 x 20.5 in.
Where would Van Gogh be without Dr. Gachet? While it’s not easy to answer this question, one thing is certain, however—we can expect exciting bidding when these two names are together. The etching and drypoint of L’Homme à la pipe (Man with a Pipe, Portrait of Dr. Paul Gachet) (14.8 x 18 cm/6 x 7 in) by the Dutch painter, a print from 1890, soared to €204,800. It must be the price of scarcity since the doctor himself wrote “Vincent Van Gogh’s only etching” on it. A contemporary, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) tied for first place with his Mademoiselle Cha-u-kao, The Seated Clowness, a color lithograph from 1896 on thin white vellum watermarked with the publisher’s and the artist’s names. The printing run was limited to 100 copies. Edgar Degas (1834-1917) rose to second place with his use of three intaglio techniques—etching, drypoint and aquatint—to produce circa 1879-1880 Mary Cassatt at the Louvre: The Etruscan Gallery on cream laid paper with the Arches watermark, which garnered €153,600. Printed in 1893, Toulouse-Lautrec’s pale cream vellum lithography of Miss Loïe Fuller (28 x 38 cm/11 x 15 in) earned €89,600. A set of ten lithographs (50.3 x 33 cm/20 x 13 in) made in 1925-1926 on cream vellum, numbered and signed by Henri Matisse (1869-1954), from the series “Ten Dancers” changed hands at €77,500. Among the Old Master prints, Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) stood out with €43,520 for The Dream of the Doctor (11.8 x 18.5 cm/4.6 x 7.3 in), a print made circa 1498 on thin laid paper with a Bull’s Head watermark. To complete this session’s theme, let’s not forget the €1,920 for L'Imprimeur (33 x 26 cm/13 x 10 in), etching of 1642 attributed to Abraham Bosse (c. 1602-1676), illustrating the process of printing with intaglio plates.