Henri de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC | Passenger from number 54 - on a cruise [La passagère du 54 - promenade en yacht]

Henri de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC
France 1864 – 1901

Passenger from number 54 - on a cruise [La passagère du 54 - promenade en yacht] 1896 planographic , brush, crayon and spatter lithograph, printed in seven colours on beige, wove paper
60.8 (h) x 40.2 (w) cm , third and final state , unknown
signed lower right, printed from the stone in dark blue ink, 'HTL' monogram not dated
Reference: Wittrock P20 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra NGA 1992.272 Purchased with the assistance of Orde Poynton Esq. CMG 1992

In the summer month of August 1895,[1] Lautrec set out on a boat trip with his friend Maurice Guilbert, travelling on the cargo ship Le Chili from Le Havre to Bourdeaux to visit his mother at her house at Malromé. It was a complicated trip as the two then had to return to Le Havre to meet Lautrec’s friend Dr Henri Bourges and his wife; then they continued the journey further along the French coast. Writing to his mother Lautrec quipped that this would ‘make three trips by sea, one on top of the other. If I don’t smell of codfish I’ll be lucky.’[2]

While on board ship Lautrec noticed a young woman from cabin 54, and became enchanted with her beauty. The unnamed woman was travelling to Senegal, a French colony on the west coast of Africa, to meet her husband, a government official. Fuelled with a good supply of champagne and wine, Lautrec decided not to leave as planned at Bordeaux and to continue south until the ship reached Dakar, the colony’s capital. Finally Guilbert persuaded the artist to disembark at Lisbon. They then travelled to Toledo and Madrid to view the art of El Greco, Diego Velázquez and Francisco Goya in the museums there.  

Working from a photograph, sketches and a large preparatory drawing, Lautrec developed his poster, Passenger from number 54 – on a cruise [La passagère du 54 – promenade en yacht]. We see the young woman sitting in a deckchair under a canvas awning. She is wearing a fashionable outfit with leg-of-mutton sleeves and a boater summer hat over her long hair swept up in a chignon. With her gloved hand she has just put her book aside as she watches the ocean and the little steamer sweeping by. The view of his subject is almost from behind, as if the artist is a voyeur furtively watching the young woman, unaware of the attention she is receiving.

As he matured as an artist Lautrec became a master lithographer, and this is evident in the remarkable assortment of methods he has applied to his composition. He was a gifted draughtsman, and drawing on a stone or on transfer paper with a brush in liquid tusche, with a lithographic crayon, or applying spatter, suited his style of simplified forms, patterning and emphasis on outlines.[3] This style is informed by Japanese woodblock prints, ukiyo-e. The artist had long held a desire to travel to Japan:

Lautrec regarded the Japanese as brothers with his own dimensions; beside them he appeared normal. Throughout his whole life it was his wish to travel to the land of mousmees [Japanese girls] and dwarf trees, and he had a wonderful conception of Japan, inspired by the prints of Hokusai. But unable to find a friend to accompany him, he had to renounce the idea of this voyage.[4]

This poster was used to advertise one of the monthly Salon des Cent exhibitions, established by the journal La Plume and staged from 1893 to 1900 at their galleries, where artists could privately sell their prints and posters.

JK    

[1] The dating of the trip has been given as 1895 and 1896, while the date of the work has also been given both dates. Claire Frèches-Thory and Anne Roquebert
propose a date of 1895 for the trip, in Claire Frèches-Thory, Anne Roquebert and Richard Thomson,
Toulouse-Lautrec, London, Paris: South Bank Centre, Réunion des musées nationaux and the Musée d’Orsay, 1991, p. 384 and p. 536. This corresponds to the date for the preparatory drawing in M.G. Dortu, Toulouse-Lautrec et son oeuvre, New York: Paul Brame et C.M. de Hauke, Colletors Editions, 1971, vol. 6, D.4.254, and to the date of the letter to his mother: see note 2 below. The the poster has also been given two dates. Götz Adriani Toulouse-Lautrec: The complete graphic works. A catalogue raisonné, London: Thames and Hudson, 1988, cat. no. 137, gives the earlier date for the poster; as does Toulouse-Lautrec, Les estampes et les affiches de la Bibliothèque nationale: Prints and posters from the Bibliothèque nationale, Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery, 1991, cat. no. 245. Wolfgang Wittrock, Toulouse-Lautrec: The complete prints, edited and translated by Catherine E. Kuehn, 2 vols, London: Sotheby’s Publications, 1985, vol. 2, cat. no. P20, dates the poster to 1896. Claire Frèches-Thory also proposes a date of 1896, in Frèches-Thory, Roquebert and Thomson, p. 384.

[2] Letter to his mother, [Paris, August 1895], in Herbert D. Schimmel (ed.), introduction by Gale B. Murray, The letters of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991, letter no. 421,
p. 275.

[3] For a discussion on his technique see Antony Griffiths, ‘The prints of Toulouse-Lautrec and Notes on the catalogue’, in Wittrock, vol. 1, pp. 35–50. Griffith notes the prolific nature of Lautrec’s printmaking and his embrace of lithography over other forms of printing,
p. 35.

[4] François Gauzi, My friend Toulouse-Lautrec, translated by Paul Dinnage, London: Neville Spearman Ltd, 1957, p. 26.

In the summer month of August 1895,[1] Lautrec set out on a boat trip with his friend Maurice Guilbert, travelling on the cargo ship Le Chili from Le Havre to Bourdeaux to visit his mother at her house at Malromé. It was a complicated trip as the two then had to return to Le Havre to meet Lautrec’s friend Dr Henri Bourges and his wife; then they continued the journey further along the French coast. Writing to his mother Lautrec quipped that this would ‘make three trips by sea, one on top of the other. If I don’t smell of codfish I’ll be lucky.’[2]

While on board ship Lautrec noticed a young woman from cabin 54, and became enchanted with her beauty. The unnamed woman was travelling to Senegal, a French colony on the west coast of Africa, to meet her husband, a government official. Fuelled with a good supply of champagne and wine, Lautrec decided not to leave as planned at Bordeaux and to continue south until the ship reached Dakar, the colony’s capital. Finally Guilbert persuaded the artist to disembark at Lisbon. They then travelled to Toledo and Madrid to view the art of El Greco, Diego Velázquez and Francisco Goya in the museums there.  

Working from a photograph, sketches and a large preparatory drawing, Lautrec developed his poster, Passenger from number 54 – on a cruise [La passagère du 54 – promenade en yacht]. We see the young woman sitting in a deckchair under a canvas awning. She is wearing a fashionable outfit with leg-of-mutton sleeves and a boater summer hat over her long hair swept up in a chignon. With her gloved hand she has just put her book aside as she watches the ocean and the little steamer sweeping by. The view of his subject is almost from behind, as if the artist is a voyeur furtively watching the young woman, unaware of the attention she is receiving.

As he matured as an artist Lautrec became a master lithographer, and this is evident in the remarkable assortment of methods he has applied to his composition. He was a gifted draughtsman, and drawing on a stone or on transfer paper with a brush in liquid tusche, with a lithographic crayon, or applying spatter, suited his style of simplified forms, patterning and emphasis on outlines.[3] This style is informed by Japanese woodblock prints, ukiyo-e. The artist had long held a desire to travel to Japan:

Lautrec regarded the Japanese as brothers with his own dimensions; beside them he appeared normal. Throughout his whole life it was his wish to travel to the land of mousmees [Japanese girls] and dwarf trees, and he had a wonderful conception of Japan, inspired by the prints of Hokusai. But unable to find a friend to accompany him, he had to renounce the idea of this voyage.[4]

This poster was used to advertise one of the monthly Salon des Cent exhibitions, established by the journal La Plume and staged from 1893 to 1900 at their galleries, where artists could privately sell their prints and posters.

JK    

[1] The dating of the trip has been given as 1895 and 1896, while the date of the work has also been given both dates. Claire Frèches-Thory and Anne Roquebert
propose a date of 1895 for the trip, in Claire Frèches-Thory, Anne Roquebert and Richard Thomson,
Toulouse-Lautrec, London, Paris: South Bank Centre, Réunion des musées nationaux and the Musée d’Orsay, 1991, p. 384 and p. 536. This corresponds to the date for the preparatory drawing in M.G. Dortu, Toulouse-Lautrec et son oeuvre, New York: Paul Brame et C.M. de Hauke, Colletors Editions, 1971, vol. 6, D.4.254, and to the date of the letter to his mother: see note 2 below. The the poster has also been given two dates. Götz Adriani Toulouse-Lautrec: The complete graphic works. A catalogue raisonné, London: Thames and Hudson, 1988, cat. no. 137, gives the earlier date for the poster; as does Toulouse-Lautrec, Les estampes et les affiches de la Bibliothèque nationale: Prints and posters from the Bibliothèque nationale, Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery, 1991, cat. no. 245. Wolfgang Wittrock, Toulouse-Lautrec: The complete prints, edited and translated by Catherine E. Kuehn, 2 vols, London: Sotheby’s Publications, 1985, vol. 2, cat. no. P20, dates the poster to 1896. Claire Frèches-Thory also proposes a date of 1896, in Frèches-Thory, Roquebert and Thomson, p. 384.

[2] Letter to his mother, [Paris, August 1895], in Herbert D. Schimmel (ed.), introduction by Gale B. Murray, The letters of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991, letter no. 421,
p. 275.

[3] For a discussion on his technique see Antony Griffiths, ‘The prints of Toulouse-Lautrec and Notes on the catalogue’, in Wittrock, vol. 1, pp. 35–50. Griffith notes the prolific nature of Lautrec’s printmaking and his embrace of lithography over other forms of printing,
p. 35.

[4] François Gauzi, My friend Toulouse-Lautrec, translated by Paul Dinnage, London: Neville Spearman Ltd, 1957, p. 26.

In the summer month of August 1895,[1] Lautrec set out on a boat trip with his friend Maurice Guilbert, travelling on the cargo ship Le Chili from Le Havre to Bourdeaux to visit his mother at her house at Malromé. It was a complicated trip as the two then had to return to Le Havre to meet Lautrec’s friend Dr Henri Bourges and his wife; then they continued the journey further along the French coast. Writing to his mother Lautrec quipped that this would ‘make three trips by sea, one on top of the other. If I don’t smell of codfish I’ll be lucky.’[2]

While on board ship Lautrec noticed a young woman from cabin 54, and became enchanted with her beauty. The unnamed woman was travelling to Senegal, a French colony on the west coast of Africa, to meet her husband, a government official. Fuelled with a good supply of champagne and wine, Lautrec decided not to leave as planned at Bordeaux and to continue south until the ship reached Dakar, the colony’s capital. Finally Guilbert persuaded the artist to disembark at Lisbon. They then travelled to Toledo and Madrid to view the art of El Greco, Diego Velázquez and Francisco Goya in the museums there.  

Working from a photograph, sketches and a large preparatory drawing, Lautrec developed his poster, Passenger from number 54 – on a cruise [La passagère du 54 – promenade en yacht]. We see the young woman sitting in a deckchair under a canvas awning. She is wearing a fashionable outfit with leg-of-mutton sleeves and a boater summer hat over her long hair swept up in a chignon. With her gloved hand she has just put her book aside as she watches the ocean and the little steamer sweeping by. The view of his subject is almost from behind, as if the artist is a voyeur furtively watching the young woman, unaware of the attention she is receiving.

As he matured as an artist Lautrec became a master lithographer, and this is evident in the remarkable assortment of methods he has applied to his composition. He was a gifted draughtsman, and drawing on a stone or on transfer paper with a brush in liquid tusche, with a lithographic crayon, or applying spatter, suited his style of simplified forms, patterning and emphasis on outlines.[3] This style is informed by Japanese woodblock prints, ukiyo-e. The artist had long held a desire to travel to Japan:

Lautrec regarded the Japanese as brothers with his own dimensions; beside them he appeared normal. Throughout his whole life it was his wish to travel to the land of mousmees [Japanese girls] and dwarf trees, and he had a wonderful conception of Japan, inspired by the prints of Hokusai. But unable to find a friend to accompany him, he had to renounce the idea of this voyage.[4]

This poster was used to advertise one of the monthly Salon des Cent exhibitions, established by the journal La Plume and staged from 1893 to 1900 at their galleries, where artists could privately sell their prints and posters.

JK    

[1] The dating of the trip has been given as 1895 and 1896, while the date of the work has also been given both dates. Claire Frèches-Thory and Anne Roquebert
propose a date of 1895 for the trip, in Claire Frèches-Thory, Anne Roquebert and Richard Thomson,
Toulouse-Lautrec, London, Paris: South Bank Centre, Réunion des musées nationaux and the Musée d’Orsay, 1991, p. 384 and p. 536. This corresponds to the date for the preparatory drawing in M.G. Dortu, Toulouse-Lautrec et son oeuvre, New York: Paul Brame et C.M. de Hauke, Colletors Editions, 1971, vol. 6, D.4.254, and to the date of the letter to his mother: see note 2 below. The the poster has also been given two dates. Götz Adriani Toulouse-Lautrec: The complete graphic works. A catalogue raisonné, London: Thames and Hudson, 1988, cat. no. 137, gives the earlier date for the poster; as does Toulouse-Lautrec, Les estampes et les affiches de la Bibliothèque nationale: Prints and posters from the Bibliothèque nationale, Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery, 1991, cat. no. 245. Wolfgang Wittrock, Toulouse-Lautrec: The complete prints, edited and translated by Catherine E. Kuehn, 2 vols, London: Sotheby’s Publications, 1985, vol. 2, cat. no. P20, dates the poster to 1896. Claire Frèches-Thory also proposes a date of 1896, in Frèches-Thory, Roquebert and Thomson, p. 384.

[2] Letter to his mother, [Paris, August 1895], in Herbert D. Schimmel (ed.), introduction by Gale B. Murray, The letters of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991, letter no. 421,
p. 275.

[3] For a discussion on his technique see Antony Griffiths, ‘The prints of Toulouse-Lautrec and Notes on the catalogue’, in Wittrock, vol. 1, pp. 35–50. Griffith notes the prolific nature of Lautrec’s printmaking and his embrace of lithography over other forms of printing,
p. 35.

[4] François Gauzi, My friend Toulouse-Lautrec, translated by Paul Dinnage, London: Neville Spearman Ltd, 1957, p. 26.



Image detail: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec La Goulue entering the Moulin Rouge [La Goulue entrant au Moulin Rouge] 1892
The Museum of Modern Art, New York Gift of Mrs David M. Levy