Henri de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC | Au pied du Sinaï [At the foot of Sinai]

Henri de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC
France 1864 – 1901

Au pied du Sinaï [At the foot of Sinai] 1898 planographic , brush, crayon and spatter lithograph, printed in five colours on thick, cream, wove paper
26.2 (h) x 41.0 (w) cm , edition 355
not signed. not dated. artist's monogram printed lower right corner in grey-blue ink, 'HTL' [ within circle] author's name printed upper centre in grey-blue ink, 'G.Clemenceau' title printed centre right in grey-blue ink, 'Au pied/ du Sinaï/ illustré/ par H.de Toulouse-Lautrec' and on spine in grey-blue ink, ''Au pied du Sinaï' printed lower left in grey-blue ink, 'H.Floury, Editeur'
Reference: Wittrock 188 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra NGA 1980.2160 Purchased 1980

Nicknamed ‘the Tiger’ due to his steadfast, and often ruthless, political brilliance, Georges Clemenceau was an esteemed French statesman and journalist. He was a key protagonist in the French Third Republic and was twice the Prime Minister of France – between 1906 and 1909, and between 1917 and 1920 when he lead France in the final years of World War I. As Prime Minister, Clemenceau played a central role in drafting the postwar Treaty of Versailles. He was an intellectual, highly articulate and widely cultured, who mixed in both literary and artistic circles and counted amongst his friends a number of Impressionist artists, including Claude Monet.

During the 1890s Clemenceau focused his efforts on journalism and established himself as one of the leading political writers of the time. In 1898 he became entangled in the Dreyfus Affair – a scandal that divided France along religious, political and cultural lines for many years. In 1894 the Jewish officer Alfred Dreyfus was charged with treason after it was alleged that he had provided to a German attaché documents detailing new designs for French artillery. Dreyfus was convicted and incarcerated on Devil’s Island in French Guiana, where he served twelve years in prison before being exonerated.

Taking up Dreyfus’ cause, Emile Zola wrote his famous article J’Accuse …! [I accuse …!] in which he charged the military of conspiracy founded on anti-Semitism – a conspiracy that Zola believed involved the French government and the church. In support of Dreyfus and Zola, and in opposition to the anti-Semitic campaigners, Clemenceau decided to publish Zola’s highly controversial article. On 13January 1898 J’Accuse …! was published on the front page of Clemenceau’s daily newspaper L’Aurore, as an open letter to the then French President, Félix Faure. The furore that ensued saw Zola prosecuted for libel and flee to England to escape imprisonment. Clemenceau continued his political cause, publishing 665 articles defending Dreyfus until his release.

Georges Clemenceau’s book, Au pied du Sinaï [At the foot of Sinai] is a collection of stories that details the history and lives of Jewish people. Although not directly associated with the Dreyfus affair, Au pied du Sinaï deals with a politically charged subject and, thus, takes on a pointed sociological meaning in light of the ongoing campaign. Lautrec designed the cover and produced 13 full page illustrations to accompany Clemenceau’s text, in a gesture that showed his support for the cause. Au pied du Sinaï can be viewed as Lautrec’s only foray into the political arena.

JB

Nicknamed ‘the Tiger’ due to his steadfast, and often ruthless, political brilliance, Georges Clemenceau was an esteemed French statesman and journalist. He was a key protagonist in the French Third Republic and was twice the Prime Minister of France – between 1906 and 1909, and between 1917 and 1920 when he lead France in the final years of World War I. As Prime Minister, Clemenceau played a central role in drafting the postwar Treaty of Versailles. He was an intellectual, highly articulate and widely cultured, who mixed in both literary and artistic circles and counted amongst his friends a number of Impressionist artists, including Claude Monet.

During the 1890s Clemenceau focused his efforts on journalism and established himself as one of the leading political writers of the time. In 1898 he became entangled in the Dreyfus Affair – a scandal that divided France along religious, political and cultural lines for many years. In 1894 the Jewish officer Alfred Dreyfus was charged with treason after it was alleged that he had provided to a German attaché documents detailing new designs for French artillery. Dreyfus was convicted and incarcerated on Devil’s Island in French Guiana, where he served twelve years in prison before being exonerated.

Taking up Dreyfus’ cause, Emile Zola wrote his famous article J’Accuse …! [I accuse …!] in which he charged the military of conspiracy founded on anti-Semitism – a conspiracy that Zola believed involved the French government and the church. In support of Dreyfus and Zola, and in opposition to the anti-Semitic campaigners, Clemenceau decided to publish Zola’s highly controversial article. On 13January 1898 J’Accuse …! was published on the front page of Clemenceau’s daily newspaper L’Aurore, as an open letter to the then French President, Félix Faure. The furore that ensued saw Zola prosecuted for libel and flee to England to escape imprisonment. Clemenceau continued his political cause, publishing 665 articles defending Dreyfus until his release.

Georges Clemenceau’s book, Au pied du Sinaï [At the foot of Sinai] is a collection of stories that details the history and lives of Jewish people. Although not directly associated with the Dreyfus affair, Au pied du Sinaï deals with a politically charged subject and, thus, takes on a pointed sociological meaning in light of the ongoing campaign. Lautrec designed the cover and produced 13 full page illustrations to accompany Clemenceau’s text, in a gesture that showed his support for the cause. Au pied du Sinaï can be viewed as Lautrec’s only foray into the political arena.

JB

Nicknamed ‘the Tiger’ due to his steadfast, and often ruthless, political brilliance, Georges Clemenceau was an esteemed French statesman and journalist. He was a key protagonist in the French Third Republic and was twice the Prime Minister of France – between 1906 and 1909, and between 1917 and 1920 when he lead France in the final years of World War I. As Prime Minister, Clemenceau played a central role in drafting the postwar Treaty of Versailles. He was an intellectual, highly articulate and widely cultured, who mixed in both literary and artistic circles and counted amongst his friends a number of Impressionist artists, including Claude Monet.

During the 1890s Clemenceau focused his efforts on journalism and established himself as one of the leading political writers of the time. In 1898 he became entangled in the Dreyfus Affair – a scandal that divided France along religious, political and cultural lines for many years. In 1894 the Jewish officer Alfred Dreyfus was charged with treason after it was alleged that he had provided to a German attaché documents detailing new designs for French artillery. Dreyfus was convicted and incarcerated on Devil’s Island in French Guiana, where he served twelve years in prison before being exonerated.

Taking up Dreyfus’ cause, Emile Zola wrote his famous article J’Accuse …! [I accuse …!] in which he charged the military of conspiracy founded on anti-Semitism – a conspiracy that Zola believed involved the French government and the church. In support of Dreyfus and Zola, and in opposition to the anti-Semitic campaigners, Clemenceau decided to publish Zola’s highly controversial article. On 13January 1898 J’Accuse …! was published on the front page of Clemenceau’s daily newspaper L’Aurore, as an open letter to the then French President, Félix Faure. The furore that ensued saw Zola prosecuted for libel and flee to England to escape imprisonment. Clemenceau continued his political cause, publishing 665 articles defending Dreyfus until his release.

Georges Clemenceau’s book, Au pied du Sinaï [At the foot of Sinai] is a collection of stories that details the history and lives of Jewish people. Although not directly associated with the Dreyfus affair, Au pied du Sinaï deals with a politically charged subject and, thus, takes on a pointed sociological meaning in light of the ongoing campaign. Lautrec designed the cover and produced 13 full page illustrations to accompany Clemenceau’s text, in a gesture that showed his support for the cause. Au pied du Sinaï can be viewed as Lautrec’s only foray into the political arena.

JB



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