Henri de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC | Bust of Mademoiselle Marcelle Lender [Mademoiselle Marcelle Lender, en buste]

Henri de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC
artist France 1864 – 1901

Bust of Mademoiselle Marcelle Lender [Mademoiselle Marcelle Lender, en buste] Pan, vol. 1, no. 3, October 1895 1895 planographic , brush and crayon lithograph, printed in eight colours on paper
32.8 (h) x 24.0 (w) cm , edition 100
signed upper left, printed from the stone in brown ink, 'HTL' monogram. not dated.
Reference: Wittrock 99 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra NGA 1977.633.1V.21 Purchased 1977

Lautrec was fascinated with the actors and actresses of the fin-de-siècle Parisian theatre, and Marcelle Lender was one of its main stars. Depicted here in the full extravagance of her stage costume, Lender is shown as a dynamic, captivating performer. This highly complex lithograph stands as proof of Lautrec’s mastery of the medium – in eight colours from eight printing stones, Lautrec has composed an image of sophisticated structure, technical virtuosity and brilliant colour. So great was the technical accomplishment of Bust of Mademoiselle Marcelle Lender [Mademoiselle Marcelle Lender, en buste] that in 1895 the German journal Pan published it in both its English and French editions.

Following in the tradition of the Japanese masters of the woodblock print, Sharaku and Toyokuni, who in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries created portraits of the actors of the Kabuki theatre, Lautrec has chosen to focus only on the head and shoulders of Lender. With a tight cropping of the composition he intensifies the impact of the image by sharpening our attention on the performer’s expression. Shown in a three-quarter profile, Lender is poised as she leans forward looking down at her audience. With her striking flame-orange hair, thin, groomed black eyebrows raised and her mouth, coloured with a red lipstick, partially open, the performer is clearly deep in her stage role and mid song.

Lautrec has delighted in the juxtaposition of numerous decorative elements and lithographic techniques, combining lithographic crayon, brush and areas of spatter for a full range of elaborate effects. He depicts Lender in a scalloped bright blue bodice with a mint green and grey-patterned wrap delicately draped around her shoulders, and with a ruffled, jewelled choker: her dress is immaculate. The bright pink flower tucked into her bodice and the enormous matching hairpiece – a large bow-like structure fanned on either side of her head – serve as a sophisticated visual foil for her white decolletage. The complexity of the composition reveals Lautrec’s ongoing fascination with Lender’s truly spectacular stage presence. Whilst the artist was clearly enchanted with the actress, she did not reciprocate, nor did she admire Lautrec’s work: ‘What a horrible man! … he is very fond of me … But, as for the portrait, you can have it!’[1]

JB

 

[1] Quoted in Suzanne Grano (ed.), Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and posters from the Bibliothèque nationale, Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery, 1991, p. 129.

Lautrec was fascinated with the actors and actresses of the fin-de-siècle Parisian theatre, and Marcelle Lender was one of its main stars. Depicted here in the full extravagance of her stage costume, Lender is shown as a dynamic, captivating performer. This highly complex lithograph stands as proof of Lautrec’s mastery of the medium – in eight colours from eight printing stones, Lautrec has composed an image of sophisticated structure, technical virtuosity and brilliant colour. So great was the technical accomplishment of Bust of Mademoiselle Marcelle Lender [Mademoiselle Marcelle Lender, en buste] that in 1895 the German journal Pan published it in both its English and French editions.

Following in the tradition of the Japanese masters of the woodblock print, Sharaku and Toyokuni, who in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries created portraits of the actors of the Kabuki theatre, Lautrec has chosen to focus only on the head and shoulders of Lender. With a tight cropping of the composition he intensifies the impact of the image by sharpening our attention on the performer’s expression. Shown in a three-quarter profile, Lender is poised as she leans forward looking down at her audience. With her striking flame-orange hair, thin, groomed black eyebrows raised and her mouth, coloured with a red lipstick, partially open, the performer is clearly deep in her stage role and mid song.

Lautrec has delighted in the juxtaposition of numerous decorative elements and lithographic techniques, combining lithographic crayon, brush and areas of spatter for a full range of elaborate effects. He depicts Lender in a scalloped bright blue bodice with a mint green and grey-patterned wrap delicately draped around her shoulders, and with a ruffled, jewelled choker: her dress is immaculate. The bright pink flower tucked into her bodice and the enormous matching hairpiece – a large bow-like structure fanned on either side of her head – serve as a sophisticated visual foil for her white decolletage. The complexity of the composition reveals Lautrec’s ongoing fascination with Lender’s truly spectacular stage presence. Whilst the artist was clearly enchanted with the actress, she did not reciprocate, nor did she admire Lautrec’s work: ‘What a horrible man! … he is very fond of me … But, as for the portrait, you can have it!’[1]

JB

 

[1] Quoted in Suzanne Grano (ed.), Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and posters from the Bibliothèque nationale, Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery, 1991, p. 129.

Lautrec was fascinated with the actors and actresses of the fin-de-siècle Parisian theatre, and Marcelle Lender was one of its main stars. Depicted here in the full extravagance of her stage costume, Lender is shown as a dynamic, captivating performer. This highly complex lithograph stands as proof of Lautrec’s mastery of the medium – in eight colours from eight printing stones, Lautrec has composed an image of sophisticated structure, technical virtuosity and brilliant colour. So great was the technical accomplishment of Bust of Mademoiselle Marcelle Lender [Mademoiselle Marcelle Lender, en buste] that in 1895 the German journal Pan published it in both its English and French editions.

Following in the tradition of the Japanese masters of the woodblock print, Sharaku and Toyokuni, who in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries created portraits of the actors of the Kabuki theatre, Lautrec has chosen to focus only on the head and shoulders of Lender. With a tight cropping of the composition he intensifies the impact of the image by sharpening our attention on the performer’s expression. Shown in a three-quarter profile, Lender is poised as she leans forward looking down at her audience. With her striking flame-orange hair, thin, groomed black eyebrows raised and her mouth, coloured with a red lipstick, partially open, the performer is clearly deep in her stage role and mid song.

Lautrec has delighted in the juxtaposition of numerous decorative elements and lithographic techniques, combining lithographic crayon, brush and areas of spatter for a full range of elaborate effects. He depicts Lender in a scalloped bright blue bodice with a mint green and grey-patterned wrap delicately draped around her shoulders, and with a ruffled, jewelled choker: her dress is immaculate. The bright pink flower tucked into her bodice and the enormous matching hairpiece – a large bow-like structure fanned on either side of her head – serve as a sophisticated visual foil for her white decolletage. The complexity of the composition reveals Lautrec’s ongoing fascination with Lender’s truly spectacular stage presence. Whilst the artist was clearly enchanted with the actress, she did not reciprocate, nor did she admire Lautrec’s work: ‘What a horrible man! … he is very fond of me … But, as for the portrait, you can have it!’[1]

JB

 

[1] Quoted in Suzanne Grano (ed.), Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and posters from the Bibliothèque nationale, Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery, 1991, p. 129.



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