Reine de Joie

Artist: Toulouse-Lautrec French (1864-1901)

Title: Reine de Joie

Plate: AL.2

Description: Condition A.
Condition A. Original lithograph from "Les Affiches Illustrees" series, limited printing of 1025. Printed by Imprimere Chaix, Paris, 1896.

Reference: Delteil 342, Wittrock P3, Adriani 5, DFP-II 823, Wine Spectator 49, Art Nouveau p. 98.

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: 8 3/4 in x 12 1/4 in 22 cm x 31 cm

Price: $1650.00 Rare

Full size sold for $37,500 US Swann Auction Galleries, NY. Feb 2016 

'It is the latest [poster], above all, that has thrilled us:
in particular gave us a shiver of delight, this delicious Reine de Joie [is] bright, attractive and superbly perverse." Thadée Natanson, French Art Critic (1868-1951)

"This poster advertises the publication of Victor Joze's novel, Reine de Joie: Moeurs du demi-monde, an eroticised account of the improprieties of a section of Parisian society. The protagonist, Hélène Roland, is depicted embracing her elderly patron, attracted as much by his wealth and status as he is by her youth and good looks. The artfully styled lock of hair, the beauty spot and her revealing red dress all point to Hélène's louche behaviour and the submissiveness in her patron's gesture suggests she has ensnared him completely. The title, Reine de Joie, is a thinly veiled reference to a French term for a prostitute: une fille de joie." (vam.ac.uk)

Reine de Joie (Study for the poster), 1892.
Charcoal on canvas, Albi, Musée de Touluse-Lautrec

Lautrec designed this poster for his friend, writer Victor Joze, advertising a book, whose full title was Reine de Joie / Moeurs du Demi-Monde [Queen of Joy / Customs of the Demi-Monde]. As salacious as the story was, the scandal surrounding the book was just as lurid. The main character was a "fictitious" Baron Rosenfeld, who is depicted as the lecherous old man in the poster. The very real Baron Rothschild felt that the character was based on him and he successfully sued the publishers; unsold copies of the book were removed from circulation. The poster itself is a superb combination of composition, caricature and insinuation. With a masterly use of the blank paper, Lautrec uses the diagonal of the table to divide the image in two. On the bottom is a rough sketch of the laid table, while on top he uses solid masses of color to delineate his characters. In fact, the two people depicted are real Parisian personalities (who had nothing at all to do with the book): the man is Georges Lasserre and the woman is Luzarche d'Azay. Thadée Natanson, writing in his publication La Revue Blanche, in February 1893, commented that this poster "in particular gave us a shiver of delight: this delicious Reine de Joie [is] bright, attractive and superbly perverse." (Swann)
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Victor Joze, a Polish writer of cheap erotic novels and a friend of Lautrec, in 1892 published "Reine de Joie/Moeurs du Demi-Monde" (Queen of Joy, or, The World of Easy Virtue). It was a perfect subject for Lautrec. The episode shown is one in which the heroine of the novel, Hélène Roland, kisses the corpulent Olizac on the nose at dinner. At the insistence of Baron Rothschild—who believed the main character in the novel, a Baron Rosenfeld, to be modeled on himself—attempts were made to suppress the entire edition. This did not, however, prevent the publishers of Fin de Siècle from riding on the publicity of such a scandal and selling parts of the story. As Ebria Feinblatt notes: “The poster is one of the most piquant and popular that the artist produced... Aside from the acutely realistic characterizations, the impact of the composition lies in the skillful use of pure color to model the forms, which assume an abstract quality” (Wagner, p. 19)