Henri de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC | Head of woman in profile to the left [Profil de femme]

Henri de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC
France 1864 – 1901

Head of woman in profile to the left [Profil de femme] c.1893–94 blue chalk on buff paper on buff paper
14.6 (h) x 22.9 (w) cm
Reference: Dortu D.4.O48 The British Museum, London Donated by Campbell Dodgson

In the drawing Head of woman in profile to the left[Profil de femme]we find Lautrec’s delicacy of touch and masterful draughtsmanship displayed in close detail. The portrait is rendered in a varied application of blue chalk. In very few linear strokes quickly applied as a centring device, the artist outlines the collar and blouse worn by his sitter. This leaves an enclosed but negative space in the lower part of the drawing and achieves maximum effect in contrast with the more densely applied lines used to depict the woman’s hair. Paying great attention to her facial features Lautrec has turned his chalk on a blunt edge in order to shade above and below the eye and around the forehead, nose and cheek. Such subtle transition in technique functions to draw attention to the eye of the sitter.

The subject of this drawing is an older prostitute, as evidenced by her slight double chin and slowly sagging features. Despite a lack of creative beautification, Lautrec does not cruelly depict his sitter but realistically portrays her without moralising interpretation.

Head of woman in profile to the leftcan be viewed as a drawing related to Lautrec’s painting Au salon: le divan or Au salon: le canapé [The sofa] c.1893.[1] where mature-aged prostitute is shown dressed in an orange housecoat sitting on a large red sofa. She is waiting in the foyer of the brothel in anticipation of an imminent client. Her brown hair is swept up on top of her head and her red mouth is slightly pouted, revealing the same droop of her jowls. It is this model who is again depicted by Lautrec in These ladies in the refectory [Ces dames au réfectoire]c.1893–94.[2] Here, the woman sits as part of a group, sharing a meal with two of her fellow prostitutes. Once again, the woman’s hairstyle and facial features are identifying details.

Whilst Head of woman in profile to the lefthas been dated by Dortu as c.1895, this drawing may have been created earlier, given the fact that the same model is featured in the two earlier paintings.

JB

 

[1] Museu de arte de São Paulo. 

[2]See p. 130.

In the drawing Head of woman in profile to the left[Profil de femme]we find Lautrec’s delicacy of touch and masterful draughtsmanship displayed in close detail. The portrait is rendered in a varied application of blue chalk. In very few linear strokes quickly applied as a centring device, the artist outlines the collar and blouse worn by his sitter. This leaves an enclosed but negative space in the lower part of the drawing and achieves maximum effect in contrast with the more densely applied lines used to depict the woman’s hair. Paying great attention to her facial features Lautrec has turned his chalk on a blunt edge in order to shade above and below the eye and around the forehead, nose and cheek. Such subtle transition in technique functions to draw attention to the eye of the sitter.

The subject of this drawing is an older prostitute, as evidenced by her slight double chin and slowly sagging features. Despite a lack of creative beautification, Lautrec does not cruelly depict his sitter but realistically portrays her without moralising interpretation.

Head of woman in profile to the leftcan be viewed as a drawing related to Lautrec’s painting Au salon: le divan or Au salon: le canapé [The sofa] c.1893.[1] where mature-aged prostitute is shown dressed in an orange housecoat sitting on a large red sofa. She is waiting in the foyer of the brothel in anticipation of an imminent client. Her brown hair is swept up on top of her head and her red mouth is slightly pouted, revealing the same droop of her jowls. It is this model who is again depicted by Lautrec in These ladies in the refectory [Ces dames au réfectoire]c.1893–94.[2] Here, the woman sits as part of a group, sharing a meal with two of her fellow prostitutes. Once again, the woman’s hairstyle and facial features are identifying details.

Whilst Head of woman in profile to the lefthas been dated by Dortu as c.1895, this drawing may have been created earlier, given the fact that the same model is featured in the two earlier paintings.

JB

 

[1] Museu de arte de São Paulo. 

[2]See p. 130.

In the drawing Head of woman in profile to the left[Profil de femme]we find Lautrec’s delicacy of touch and masterful draughtsmanship displayed in close detail. The portrait is rendered in a varied application of blue chalk. In very few linear strokes quickly applied as a centring device, the artist outlines the collar and blouse worn by his sitter. This leaves an enclosed but negative space in the lower part of the drawing and achieves maximum effect in contrast with the more densely applied lines used to depict the woman’s hair. Paying great attention to her facial features Lautrec has turned his chalk on a blunt edge in order to shade above and below the eye and around the forehead, nose and cheek. Such subtle transition in technique functions to draw attention to the eye of the sitter.

The subject of this drawing is an older prostitute, as evidenced by her slight double chin and slowly sagging features. Despite a lack of creative beautification, Lautrec does not cruelly depict his sitter but realistically portrays her without moralising interpretation.

Head of woman in profile to the leftcan be viewed as a drawing related to Lautrec’s painting Au salon: le divan or Au salon: le canapé [The sofa] c.1893.[1] where mature-aged prostitute is shown dressed in an orange housecoat sitting on a large red sofa. She is waiting in the foyer of the brothel in anticipation of an imminent client. Her brown hair is swept up on top of her head and her red mouth is slightly pouted, revealing the same droop of her jowls. It is this model who is again depicted by Lautrec in These ladies in the refectory [Ces dames au réfectoire]c.1893–94.[2] Here, the woman sits as part of a group, sharing a meal with two of her fellow prostitutes. Once again, the woman’s hairstyle and facial features are identifying details.

Whilst Head of woman in profile to the lefthas been dated by Dortu as c.1895, this drawing may have been created earlier, given the fact that the same model is featured in the two earlier paintings.

JB

 

[1] Museu de arte de São Paulo. 

[2]See p. 130.




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