Henri de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC | The sofa [Le sofa]

Henri de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC
France 1864 – 1901

The sofa [Le sofa] c.1894–95 oil on cardboard
62.9 (h) x 81.0 (w) cm
Stamped (lower left): HTL [monogram]
Reference: Dortu P.601 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Rogers Fund, 1951

Until the mid-1800s female homosexuality was considered absurd due to the fact that many medical professionals did not believe in female sexual impulse. Whilst lesbianism in fin-de-siècle Paris was common it was negatively judged by conservative society. For this reason, it was a sexual preference many kept hidden.

Here, two unknown prostitutes share a moment of private tenderness. Lautrec’s sensitive treatment of the theme reveals a glimpse of real intimacy in an otherwise constructed world of sexual extravagance and simulated fantasy.

Until the mid-1800s female homosexuality was considered absurd due to the fact that many medical professionals did not believe in female sexual impulse. Whilst lesbianism in fin-de-siècle Paris was common it was negatively judged by conservative society. For this reason, it was a sexual preference many kept hidden.

Here, two unknown prostitutes share a moment of private tenderness. Lautrec’s sensitive treatment of the theme reveals a glimpse of real intimacy in an otherwise constructed world of sexual extravagance and simulated fantasy.

Until the mid-1800s female homosexuality was considered absurd due to the fact that many medical professionals did not believe in female sexual impulse. Whilst lesbianism in fin-de-siècle Paris was common it was negatively judged by conservative society. For this reason, it was a sexual preference many kept hidden.

Here, two unknown prostitutes share a moment of private tenderness. Lautrec’s sensitive treatment of the theme reveals a glimpse of real intimacy in an otherwise constructed world of sexual extravagance and simulated fantasy.




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