Artist: Toulouse-Lautrec French (1864-1901)
Title: La Gitane
Plate: TL. 31
Lithograph from "Les Affiches de Toulouse-Lautrec" series.
Printed by Mourlot Freres, Paris, 1967.
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
Lautrec's last poster and perhaps most rare.
"This is an advertisement for Jean Richepin's drama 'La Gitane'. The story follows the fatal attraction of various men to the heartless Spanish gypsy Rita. After her jealous husband and suitors kill each other off, she runs away with her younger brother-in-law. The lead in the Theatre Antoine's production was played by Martha Mellot, an actress and singer who was well known for her roles as a seductive 'femme fatale'. She was the wife of Alfred Natanson, one of the brothers who published La Revue Blanche. Lautrec has given a choreographic S-shape to the figure's swaggering posture, her face contorted in grotesque hilarity. She gives a pitiless jeer over her shoulder at one of her frantic lovers scrambling after a rival over the hilly Granada scenery" (San Diego Museum of Art)
"The poster La Gitane is among Henri de Toulouse-lautrec's most evocative works, as well as one of the rarest. It advertises a never-published play, now lost; its plot can be reconstructed from contemporary reviews that suggest a story line similar to that of Bizet's Carmen, with a sinister and melodramatic twist.
The heroine, Rita, is married to her cousin but betrays him with any man who catches her fancy. Among her casual conquests, the Count de Moreuse refuses to be discarded. He abandons his family and follows Rita to Granada, where, while Rita dances, husband and lover fight and die. The heartless Rita is gleeful and vindictive, as Toulouse-Lautrec shows; the play ends as she steps over the fallen men to flee, laughing with her brother-in-law.
Toulouse-Lautrec's composition captures the sinister interaction in bold silhouettes suggesting harsh theatrical lighting as well as back-alley darkness. This compression of detail is characteristic of Lautrec's work. He is credited with causing the reassessment of the poster as an art form. Posters were made and distributed in Paris from the seventeenth century, but only in the nineteenth was this means of advertising widely practiced by painters. Toulouse-Lautrec's posters are notable for their sophisticated and innovative color. His stark compositions frequently emphasize a single forground figure, a signature of his work. The flat color areas and abstracted shapes strongly reflect influences Toulouse-Lautrec absorbed from Japanese prints he and other contemporary artists studied." (ibiblio.org)
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.