Full size (printed in 1895) estimated at
$ 100,000-$120,000 US, (Very rare) Poster Auctions International,
N.Y. Lot 683, Nov. 2000
"This was Lautrec's entry in a competition for a poster to publicize
W. Milligan Sloane's History of Napoleon I, which was being published
in serial form in the American 'Century Magazine." The artists
of the jury were died-in-the-wool conservatives who placed Lautrec
fourth among twenty contestants and criticized his design for lack
of finish. Following his defeat Lautrec had the printing house Ancourt
pull a hundred impressions of 'Napoleon' an edition he may have
had printed at his own expense.
In contrast to the dull academic illustration by
Lucien Metivet that was chosen by the jurors, Lautrec's design
is vibrant, and combines historical references with human insight
into his subject. The Mameluke riding at Napoleon's right and the
marshal on his left suggest the victorious Egyptian and European
campaigns, while the isolated, sombre figure of the commander riding
ahead seems to embody both his power and his inevitable downfall.
In his graphic work Lautrec spurned illusionism and finish as false
and merely manual, adhering instead to a veracity that is visual
, suggestive, and economic. This is beautifully exemplified in the
avoidance of detail, the airy atmosphere, and the dynamic cropping
of Napoleon's horse" (San Diego Museum of Art)
During the 1960s the renowned French printer, Mourlot Freres, printed
this superb series "Les Affiches de Toulouse-Lautrec"
for collectors. They are reduced lithographic versions of Lautrec's
most famous works. They are truly the most beautiful printing we
have been able to find in this size format.
As vintage printings of Lautrec's work, in all formats, reach high
prices, this mid-century printing offers a superb alternative at
a reasonable price that will only appreciate in value.