Artist: Toulouse-Lautrec French (1864-1901)
Title: "Femme Couchee" (Woman waking)
Plate: EL. 04
Lithograph plate from "Elles" series. Printed by Mourlot Freres, Paris, 1952.
Presented in 16 x 20 in. acid free, archival museum mat, with framing labels. Ready to frame. Shipped boxed flat via Fedex.
Certificate of Authenticity.
Sheet Size: 10 1/2 in x 14 1/2 in 27 cm x 37 cm
Full set of ten (original printing 1896) estimated at US $ 500,000-700,000, Christies, N.Y. Lot 22, Oct. 2001 (edition of 100 only, very rare)
"The naturalness and spontaneity of these women, to whom nakedness was habitual, imbued them with a grace reminiscent of that of the nymphs and goddesses of antiquity, which professional models clumsily and artificially seek in vain to emulate. For Lautrec, beauty was inherent in life, in movement, in the absence of physical or moral restraint, and he wished to indicate the unquestionable superiority of the prostitutes in this respect over other women" (Dortu, p.142)
Jane Avril (1868-1943)
"They were his friends as well as his models. He in turn had an uplifting effect on them. In his presence they were just women, and he treated them as equals. When he ate with them, often bringing a party of friends, they held their knives and forks daintily, restrained their conversation, had the feeling of being women of some standing. Lautrec's almost womanly intuition and sympathy shone like a light for them" (Jane Avril quoted in D. Sweetman, Toulouse-Lautrec and the fin-de-Siecle, London, 1999, p.341)
The Elles portfolio
"Lautrec's series Elles (consisting of 10 sheets with a frontispiece and cover) is one of the high points of 19th century art. It was a pictorial to what the artist experienced in the maisons closes (brothels) of Paris. 'They' are 'women to my liking', as he used to say cynically, and he often lived with them for weeks at a time during 1892 to 1895, constant witness of their daily lives, of suffering and intimacy…" (Adriani, p.222)
Fernand Mourlot (1895-1988)
In 1952 the renowned French printer printed this superb series "Elles" for collectors. They are reduced lithographic versions of Lautrec's most famous portfolio. They are truly the most beautiful printing we have been able to find in this size format.
Mourlot Studios was a commercial print shop founded in 1852 by the Mourlot family and located in Paris, France. It was also known as Imprimerie Mourlot, Mourlot Freres and Atelier Mourlot. Founded by Francois Mourlot, it started off producing wallpaper. Later, his son Jules Mourlot would expand the business to handle the production of chocolate labels for companies such as Chocolat Poulain, as well as ledgers, maps and stationary. Starting in the 1920s, Jules' son, Fernand Mourlot, converted one of the locations into a studio dedicated to printing fine art lithography.
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.