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Update:February 27, 2013

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Henri de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC "Le Divan Japonais"

"Le Divan Japonais"

Henri de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC (1864-1901)
1893, 79.0 x 60.0cm, Color lithograph
The Miura Collection

This is a poster for a music cafe (café concert). The woman in the black dress is the popular dancer Jane Avril and the man with the monocle is said to be the music critic Edouart de Jardin. We can identify a woman standing beyond the orchestra as the singer Yvette Guilbert by her trademark black gloves. Lautrec, whose growth was stunted in his youth by breaking his legs twice, found the wiIl to live through art. As subjects he continued to choose the human drama of "Belle Époch" Paris, particularly the entertainment district of Montmartre which he frequented.
The name of the cafe, Le Divan Japonais, means the Japanese divan. Japanesque style and curiosities were popular in Paris and Lautrec had a large collection of ukiyo-e prints. The bold composition and flat areas of color can be seen as a Japanese print influence. Lautrec's contribution to the new advertising medium of poster art using the increasingly popular technique of color lithography was a great one during this period.