Henri de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC | Dress rehearsal at the Foiles Bergère – Emilienne d’Alençon and Mariquita [Répétion générale aux Folies Bergère – Emilienne d’Alençon et Mariquita]

Henri de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC
France 1864 – 1901

Dress rehearsal at the Foiles Bergère – Emilienne d’Alençon and Mariquita [Répétion générale aux Folies Bergère – Emilienne d’Alençon et Mariquita] L'Escarmouche, no. 4, 3 December 1893 1893 brush, crayon and spatter lithograph with scraper, printed in olive-grey
37.0 (h) x 26.2 (w) cm , First edition; edition of 100
Reference: Wittrock 34 Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide David Murray Bequest Fund 1932

Lautrec created this lithograph as one of series of illustrations for the publication L’Escarmouche. It was later sold as an individual print in an edition of 100. The lithograph shows two female performers on stage at the famous music hall, Folies Bergère, at 32 rue Richer. The venue adopted the name of a nearby street – rue Bergères (meaning ‘shepherdess’). It opened in 1869 as a café-concert and rapidly became the world-renowned revue theatre where Lautrec was a frequent visitor. For a two franc admission the Parisian working-classes could rub shoulders with the well-to-do.

In 1879 Joris-Karl Huysmans described the Folies thus:

It is ugly and it is superb, it is in both exquisitely good and outrageously bad taste … it is the only place in Paris that stinks so deliciously of the makeup of bought caresses and the desperation of depravities that fail to excite.[1]

Set in elaborate, if overdone surroundings, spectators enjoyed a range of performers – from trapeze artists and jugglers, to ballet dancers, snake charmers, clowns and even a boxing kangaroo.

The two women Lautrec captures during a moment at rehearsals are Madame Mariquita, a famous dance mistress, and the young dancer Emilienne d’Alençon, being coached for her performance. Madame Mariquita was one of the most popular dance instructors and choreographers in fin-de-siècle Paris. Born near Algiers in the 1830s, she debuted at the Théâtre des Funambules in Paris in 1845, then performed at many of the top dance halls. After retiring from the stage she became a ballet mistress and choreographer, first at the Théâtre de la Gaîté Lyrique and later the Folies Bergère and the Opéra Comique. She was extraordinarily popular with the dancers, who described her as ‘a fairy of artistic choreography’.[2] While Emilienne d’Alençon was a dancer, she was more famous as a courtesan in the late nineteenth century. Born Emilie André in Paris in 1869, she became known as one of the popular trio, Les grandes trois, the celebrated and notorious dancers who conquered not only the Paris stage but also the beds of most of Europe’s royalty.[3] She debuted at the Cirque d’été in 1889 where, while wearing barely anything, she coaxed pink-dyed rabbits with paper ruff collars through hoops. She and her rosy coloured act were described as resembling a raspberry ice by the Symbolist author Jean Lorrain.[4] She went on to perform in various revues such as Paris Boulevard, Tara Boum Revue and Emilienne aux Quat’z’Arts, at nightspots such as Casino de Paris, the Folies Bergère and La Scala. A salacious affair with the twenty-year-old Duc d’Uzès caused his family to send him to the Congo in order to avoid the mesalliance, where he died in 1893. Emilienne also had a long relationship with King Leopold II of Belgium, as well as several female affairs with the dancer Liane de Pougy and the poet Renée Vivien. Emilienne d’Alençon was Coco Chanel’s first client, famously wearing one of her creations, a straw boater hat, to the races at Longchamp.[5] Her love of the racetrack lead to her marriage to English jockey Percy Woodland.

SM

 

[1] J-K. Huysmans, Parisian sketches [Croquis parisiens], 1880, translated by Brendan King, Gardena CA: Dedalus, 2004, pp. 43–44.

[2] Quoted in Lynn Garafola, Legacies of twentieth-century dance, Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2005, p. 217.

[3] Charles Castle, The Folies-Bergère, London: Methuen, 1982, p. 48.

[4] Susan Griffin, The book of the courtesans: A catalogue of their virtues, New York: Broadway Books, 2001,
p. 126.

[5] Amy de la Haye and Shelley Tobin, Chanel:
The couturiere at work
, London: Victoria & Albert Museum, 1994, p. 10.

Lautrec created this lithograph as one of series of illustrations for the publication L’Escarmouche. It was later sold as an individual print in an edition of 100. The lithograph shows two female performers on stage at the famous music hall, Folies Bergère, at 32 rue Richer. The venue adopted the name of a nearby street – rue Bergères (meaning ‘shepherdess’). It opened in 1869 as a café-concert and rapidly became the world-renowned revue theatre where Lautrec was a frequent visitor. For a two franc admission the Parisian working-classes could rub shoulders with the well-to-do.

In 1879 Joris-Karl Huysmans described the Folies thus:

It is ugly and it is superb, it is in both exquisitely good and outrageously bad taste … it is the only place in Paris that stinks so deliciously of the makeup of bought caresses and the desperation of depravities that fail to excite.[1]

Set in elaborate, if overdone surroundings, spectators enjoyed a range of performers – from trapeze artists and jugglers, to ballet dancers, snake charmers, clowns and even a boxing kangaroo.

The two women Lautrec captures during a moment at rehearsals are Madame Mariquita, a famous dance mistress, and the young dancer Emilienne d’Alençon, being coached for her performance. Madame Mariquita was one of the most popular dance instructors and choreographers in fin-de-siècle Paris. Born near Algiers in the 1830s, she debuted at the Théâtre des Funambules in Paris in 1845, then performed at many of the top dance halls. After retiring from the stage she became a ballet mistress and choreographer, first at the Théâtre de la Gaîté Lyrique and later the Folies Bergère and the Opéra Comique. She was extraordinarily popular with the dancers, who described her as ‘a fairy of artistic choreography’.[2] While Emilienne d’Alençon was a dancer, she was more famous as a courtesan in the late nineteenth century. Born Emilie André in Paris in 1869, she became known as one of the popular trio, Les grandes trois, the celebrated and notorious dancers who conquered not only the Paris stage but also the beds of most of Europe’s royalty.[3] She debuted at the Cirque d’été in 1889 where, while wearing barely anything, she coaxed pink-dyed rabbits with paper ruff collars through hoops. She and her rosy coloured act were described as resembling a raspberry ice by the Symbolist author Jean Lorrain.[4] She went on to perform in various revues such as Paris Boulevard, Tara Boum Revue and Emilienne aux Quat’z’Arts, at nightspots such as Casino de Paris, the Folies Bergère and La Scala. A salacious affair with the twenty-year-old Duc d’Uzès caused his family to send him to the Congo in order to avoid the mesalliance, where he died in 1893. Emilienne also had a long relationship with King Leopold II of Belgium, as well as several female affairs with the dancer Liane de Pougy and the poet Renée Vivien. Emilienne d’Alençon was Coco Chanel’s first client, famously wearing one of her creations, a straw boater hat, to the races at Longchamp.[5] Her love of the racetrack lead to her marriage to English jockey Percy Woodland.

SM

 

[1] J-K. Huysmans, Parisian sketches [Croquis parisiens], 1880, translated by Brendan King, Gardena CA: Dedalus, 2004, pp. 43–44.

[2] Quoted in Lynn Garafola, Legacies of twentieth-century dance, Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2005, p. 217.

[3] Charles Castle, The Folies-Bergère, London: Methuen, 1982, p. 48.

[4] Susan Griffin, The book of the courtesans: A catalogue of their virtues, New York: Broadway Books, 2001,
p. 126.

[5] Amy de la Haye and Shelley Tobin, Chanel:
The couturiere at work
, London: Victoria & Albert Museum, 1994, p. 10.

Lautrec created this lithograph as one of series of illustrations for the publication L’Escarmouche. It was later sold as an individual print in an edition of 100. The lithograph shows two female performers on stage at the famous music hall, Folies Bergère, at 32 rue Richer. The venue adopted the name of a nearby street – rue Bergères (meaning ‘shepherdess’). It opened in 1869 as a café-concert and rapidly became the world-renowned revue theatre where Lautrec was a frequent visitor. For a two franc admission the Parisian working-classes could rub shoulders with the well-to-do.

In 1879 Joris-Karl Huysmans described the Folies thus:

It is ugly and it is superb, it is in both exquisitely good and outrageously bad taste … it is the only place in Paris that stinks so deliciously of the makeup of bought caresses and the desperation of depravities that fail to excite.[1]

Set in elaborate, if overdone surroundings, spectators enjoyed a range of performers – from trapeze artists and jugglers, to ballet dancers, snake charmers, clowns and even a boxing kangaroo.

The two women Lautrec captures during a moment at rehearsals are Madame Mariquita, a famous dance mistress, and the young dancer Emilienne d’Alençon, being coached for her performance. Madame Mariquita was one of the most popular dance instructors and choreographers in fin-de-siècle Paris. Born near Algiers in the 1830s, she debuted at the Théâtre des Funambules in Paris in 1845, then performed at many of the top dance halls. After retiring from the stage she became a ballet mistress and choreographer, first at the Théâtre de la Gaîté Lyrique and later the Folies Bergère and the Opéra Comique. She was extraordinarily popular with the dancers, who described her as ‘a fairy of artistic choreography’.[2] While Emilienne d’Alençon was a dancer, she was more famous as a courtesan in the late nineteenth century. Born Emilie André in Paris in 1869, she became known as one of the popular trio, Les grandes trois, the celebrated and notorious dancers who conquered not only the Paris stage but also the beds of most of Europe’s royalty.[3] She debuted at the Cirque d’été in 1889 where, while wearing barely anything, she coaxed pink-dyed rabbits with paper ruff collars through hoops. She and her rosy coloured act were described as resembling a raspberry ice by the Symbolist author Jean Lorrain.[4] She went on to perform in various revues such as Paris Boulevard, Tara Boum Revue and Emilienne aux Quat’z’Arts, at nightspots such as Casino de Paris, the Folies Bergère and La Scala. A salacious affair with the twenty-year-old Duc d’Uzès caused his family to send him to the Congo in order to avoid the mesalliance, where he died in 1893. Emilienne also had a long relationship with King Leopold II of Belgium, as well as several female affairs with the dancer Liane de Pougy and the poet Renée Vivien. Emilienne d’Alençon was Coco Chanel’s first client, famously wearing one of her creations, a straw boater hat, to the races at Longchamp.[5] Her love of the racetrack lead to her marriage to English jockey Percy Woodland.

SM

 

[1] J-K. Huysmans, Parisian sketches [Croquis parisiens], 1880, translated by Brendan King, Gardena CA: Dedalus, 2004, pp. 43–44.

[2] Quoted in Lynn Garafola, Legacies of twentieth-century dance, Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2005, p. 217.

[3] Charles Castle, The Folies-Bergère, London: Methuen, 1982, p. 48.

[4] Susan Griffin, The book of the courtesans: A catalogue of their virtues, New York: Broadway Books, 2001,
p. 126.

[5] Amy de la Haye and Shelley Tobin, Chanel:
The couturiere at work
, London: Victoria & Albert Museum, 1994, p. 10.



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