Henri de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC | Lady with a dog (Portrait of Madame Fabre at Arcachon) [La femme au chien (Portrait de Madame Fabre à Arcachon)]

Henri de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC
France 1864 – 1901

Lady with a dog (Portrait of Madame Fabre at Arcachon) [La femme au chien (Portrait de Madame Fabre à Arcachon)] 1891 oil on cardboard on cardboard
75.0 (h) x 57.2 (w) cm
lower right initials in monogram followed by rest of last name: THLautrec / 91
Reference: Dortu P.395 National Gallery of Art, Washington DC Gift of the W. Averell Harriman Foundation in memory of Marie N. Harriman

Among the several female models chosen by Lautrec to depict in a garden setting, during his experimentation with Impressionist and Post Impressionist techniques, this painting of Madame Fabre is a gentler and more personal portrayal.

Just like Lautrec’s paintings of his mother or, later, his friend Misia Natanson – who with her husband Thadée kept a salon with writers and artists associated with La Revue blanche – Madame Fabre is shown as a mature gentlewoman. The subtle colouring of her face with its soft framing of curls is in contrast to some of the extreme coiffures of Lautrec’s working girls, dancers and prostitutes. She is dressed luxuriously in a prettily patterned, filmy blouse, with flounces at the collar, cuffs and hem, worn over a striped silk skirt. The flowing drapery is drawn in with a green belt that highlights her slim waist. In her own garden and sitting upright on a deckchair, her pose is assured as she holds onto her little dog. The tall picket fence and the bent treetrunk serve as a backdrop to the paler figure of Madame Fabre, set against the vivid green of the lawn. The snowy whites, mauves and greens beyond the fence suggest a cloudy day and further gardens.

Arcachon was a relatively new coastal town established by Napoléon III in May 1857. Until that time it had been little more than a cluster of wooden huts inhabited by fishermen, with peasants living in the forests beyond. Arcachon became the seaside resort and hideaway favoured by many of the upper classes, including Lautrec’s mother Adèle – because of its location on the Atlantic coast close to the family homes in southwest France. This was the site of the first family seaside holiday for Lautrec and his parents in 1872, although it proved to be the last such occasion for his father, who preferred more fashionable up-tempo locations.

Arcachon remained a favourite place to holiday or rest for Lautrec throughout much of his life; and there he took the opportunity to portray Madame Fabre in her garden. So many of his subjects were related to the demi-monde, this delightful Lady with a dog [La femme au chien] shows another side of his art. The gentle-faced woman and her tiny energetic dog are beautifully rendered and reveal that Lautrec could portray character with great sensitivity.

JK

Among the several female models chosen by Lautrec to depict in a garden setting, during his experimentation with Impressionist and Post Impressionist techniques, this painting of Madame Fabre is a gentler and more personal portrayal.

Just like Lautrec’s paintings of his mother or, later, his friend Misia Natanson – who with her husband Thadée kept a salon with writers and artists associated with La Revue blanche – Madame Fabre is shown as a mature gentlewoman. The subtle colouring of her face with its soft framing of curls is in contrast to some of the extreme coiffures of Lautrec’s working girls, dancers and prostitutes. She is dressed luxuriously in a prettily patterned, filmy blouse, with flounces at the collar, cuffs and hem, worn over a striped silk skirt. The flowing drapery is drawn in with a green belt that highlights her slim waist. In her own garden and sitting upright on a deckchair, her pose is assured as she holds onto her little dog. The tall picket fence and the bent treetrunk serve as a backdrop to the paler figure of Madame Fabre, set against the vivid green of the lawn. The snowy whites, mauves and greens beyond the fence suggest a cloudy day and further gardens.

Arcachon was a relatively new coastal town established by Napoléon III in May 1857. Until that time it had been little more than a cluster of wooden huts inhabited by fishermen, with peasants living in the forests beyond. Arcachon became the seaside resort and hideaway favoured by many of the upper classes, including Lautrec’s mother Adèle – because of its location on the Atlantic coast close to the family homes in southwest France. This was the site of the first family seaside holiday for Lautrec and his parents in 1872, although it proved to be the last such occasion for his father, who preferred more fashionable up-tempo locations.

Arcachon remained a favourite place to holiday or rest for Lautrec throughout much of his life; and there he took the opportunity to portray Madame Fabre in her garden. So many of his subjects were related to the demi-monde, this delightful Lady with a dog [La femme au chien] shows another side of his art. The gentle-faced woman and her tiny energetic dog are beautifully rendered and reveal that Lautrec could portray character with great sensitivity.

JK

Among the several female models chosen by Lautrec to depict in a garden setting, during his experimentation with Impressionist and Post Impressionist techniques, this painting of Madame Fabre is a gentler and more personal portrayal.

Just like Lautrec’s paintings of his mother or, later, his friend Misia Natanson – who with her husband Thadée kept a salon with writers and artists associated with La Revue blanche – Madame Fabre is shown as a mature gentlewoman. The subtle colouring of her face with its soft framing of curls is in contrast to some of the extreme coiffures of Lautrec’s working girls, dancers and prostitutes. She is dressed luxuriously in a prettily patterned, filmy blouse, with flounces at the collar, cuffs and hem, worn over a striped silk skirt. The flowing drapery is drawn in with a green belt that highlights her slim waist. In her own garden and sitting upright on a deckchair, her pose is assured as she holds onto her little dog. The tall picket fence and the bent treetrunk serve as a backdrop to the paler figure of Madame Fabre, set against the vivid green of the lawn. The snowy whites, mauves and greens beyond the fence suggest a cloudy day and further gardens.

Arcachon was a relatively new coastal town established by Napoléon III in May 1857. Until that time it had been little more than a cluster of wooden huts inhabited by fishermen, with peasants living in the forests beyond. Arcachon became the seaside resort and hideaway favoured by many of the upper classes, including Lautrec’s mother Adèle – because of its location on the Atlantic coast close to the family homes in southwest France. This was the site of the first family seaside holiday for Lautrec and his parents in 1872, although it proved to be the last such occasion for his father, who preferred more fashionable up-tempo locations.

Arcachon remained a favourite place to holiday or rest for Lautrec throughout much of his life; and there he took the opportunity to portray Madame Fabre in her garden. So many of his subjects were related to the demi-monde, this delightful Lady with a dog [La femme au chien] shows another side of his art. The gentle-faced woman and her tiny energetic dog are beautifully rendered and reveal that Lautrec could portray character with great sensitivity.

JK




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