Toulouse-Lautrec Prints Come Out on Top

On 12 July 2021, by Anne Doridou-Heim

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s prints from a historic Paris gallery’s collection met with complete success.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901), La Clownesse assise (Mademoiselle Ch-U-Ka-O) (The Seated Clown [Mademoiselle Ch-U-Ka-O]), 1896, color lithograph on thin white watermarked vellum, 40.3 x 52.2 cm/15.86 x 20.55 in.
Result: €205,704

On April 28 and 29, the first auction of old and modern prints from a historic collection netted €982,808. Part two, with 220 lots, was an ode to Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and ended with the hefty proceeds of €2,078,220. The sale was an invitation to stroll through late 19th-century Montmartre and its cabarets. It started with €98,280 for L'Anglais au Moulin-Rouge (An Englishman at the Moulin Rouge), a proof from 1892 on watermarked laid paper (49 x 61 cm/19.29 x 24.01 in) where impresario William Tom Warrener can be seen in deep conversation with La Goulue (The Ghoul) and her friend, la môme Fromage (the Cheese Kid), and continued with €131,422 for Miss Loïe Füller, a lithograph in which the beautiful American, totally aerial in the colored light of her veils enhanced with golden bronze ink, performs one of the dances that made her famous.

La Clownesse assise (Mademoiselle Ch-U-Ka-O) (The Female Clown Sitting (Mademoiselle Ch-U-Ka-O), a plate from the 1896 "Elles" series, fetched €205,704 (see photo). She must have been exhausted by the acrobatics that the audience loved. The mad dance resumed with €142,850 for Elsa la Viennoise (38.7 x 56 cm/15.23 x 22.04 in), a "boarder", as it was then said about a house on rue des Moulins, €171,420 for La Danse au Moulin-Rouge, where two women dance to a band, and €123,422 for La Chanson du Matelot (Miss X in The Alabamah Coons) (The Seaman’s Shanty [Miss X in The Alabamah Coons]), one of only four proofs known to date. Then Montmartre was left behind for the world of horseracing: Le Jockey se rendant au poteau (The Jockey Going to the Post, 27.8 x 39 cm/10.94 x 15.35 in), an 1899 lithograph, advanced to €102,852.

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