Search

Collection Tour

Cafe and Cabaret: Toulouse-Lautrec’s Paris

  • Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901), one of the most innovative artists of the late 19th century, succeeded in developing a style uniquely suited to the Parisian celebrity culture of the 1880s and 1890s. This exhibition features posters, prints, and paintings of cafe, cabaret, and other urban amusements by Toulouse-Lautrec and his contemporaries, including Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, and Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen.

    Start Tour
  • Aristide Bruant in his Cabaret

    1893
    Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901)

    Description

    Aristide Bruant-the famous performer, nightclub owner, and inventor of the chanson realiste (songs written in the slang of working-class Parisians)-appears in his signature outfit of black velvet jacket, wide brimmed hat, and long red scarf. This rare proof impression is before the addition of lettering and background detail.

    Provenance

    Ferdinand Roten, Baltimore; from whom purchased by MFA, 13 December 1956.

    Credit Line

    Otis Norcross Fund

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Wittrock P09; Delteil 348 i

    Dimensions

    Sight: 138.4 x 96.5 cm (54 1/2 x 38 in.) Framed: 145.4 x 105.4 x 3.8 cm (57 1/4 x 41 1/2 x 1 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    56.1190

    Medium or Technique

    Poster, color lithograph printed in black, red, green, and gray, proof before letters

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Prints, Posters

    More Info
  • Divan Japonais

    1893
    Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901)

    Description

    Nineteenth-century guidebooks described Paris as “the capital of pleasure,” with its thousands of theaters, dance halls, cafés, circuses, racetracks, and other entertainments. Posters advertising these amusements were made possible by the development of color lithography, a process capable of producing large editions of high-quality prints. The clever, eye-catching posters of Toulouse-Lautrec—with their stylized shapes and flat areas of color—immortalized such places as the cabaret Divan Japonais. Here, seated in the audience are the popular dancer Jane Avril and the critic Edouard Dujardin. In the background, beyond the musicians, is the singer Yvette Guilbert, instantly recognizable although the artist does not show her face. A journalist described Guilbert: “She has no bosom to speak of and her chest is quite extraordinarily narrow. She has long—too long—thin arms clad in high black gloves that look like flimsy streamers.”

    Inscription

    On stone, l.r.: THLautrec/ Imp. Edw. Ancourt, Paris

    Provenance

    London Graphic Arts, Detroit; 1968, sold by London Graphic Arts to MFA. (Accession Date: November 13, 1968)

    Credit Line

    Lee M. Friedman Fund

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Wittrock P11; Delteil 341;

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 81 x 62.3 cm (31 7/8 x 24 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    68.721

    Medium or Technique

    Poster, crayon, brush, spatter and transferred screen lithograph, printed from four stones in olive-green, red, yellow and black

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Prints, Posters

    More Info
  • Yvette Guilbert--At the Ambassadeurs café concert

    Yvette Guilbert— Aux Ambassadeurs

    1894
    Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen (French (born in Switzerland), 1859–1923)

    Description

    One of the most famous celebrities of her day, Yvette Guilbert developed a signature style (slim gown and long black gloves) and a unique way of half-singing and half-speaking popular songs by Montmartre writers such as Aristide Bruant. She was a savvy self-promoter and commissioned her own publicity posters.

    Provenance

    1962, gift of Arthur E. and Charlotte Z. Vershbow, Newton, MA, to the MFA. (Accession Date: September 19, 1962)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Vershbow

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Bargiel and Zagrodzki 15; de Crauzat 493

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 185.7 x 79.7 cm (73 1/8 x 31 3/8 in.) Framed: 196.9 x 90.8 x 2.5 cm (77 1/2 x 35 3/4 x 1 in.)

    Accession Number

    62.927

    Medium or Technique

    Poster, color lithograph

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Prints, Posters

    More Info
  • The Pastry Shop

    La Patisserie

    1899
    Edouard Vuillard (French, 1868–1940), Publisher Ambroise Vollard (French, 1867–1939)

    Description

    The art dealer Ambroise Vollard commissioned a portfolio of color lithographs with the theme of landscapes and interiors from Vuillard, who was an active participant in Parisian avant-garde artistic circles and experimental theater.

    Signed

    l.r. graphite E Vuillard

    Provenance

    1960, bequest of W. G. Russell Allen to the MFA. (Accession Date: February 11, 1960)

    Credit Line

    Bequest of W. G. Russell Allen

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Roger-Marx 41

    Dimensions

    Image: 35.9 x 27.9 cm (14 1/8 x 11 in.) Sheet: 40.4 x 31.6 cm (15 7/8 x 12 7/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    60.115

    Medium or Technique

    Color lithograph

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Prints

    More Info
  • In the Street (Gigolots and Gigolettes)

    Dans la rue (gigolots et gigolettes)

    1895
    Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen (French (born in Switzerland), 1859–1923), Author Aristide Bruant (French, 1851–1925 French)

    Description

    In the Street is a proof impression for the cover for an illustrated book of songs and monologues, written in popular slang by Aristide Bruant.

    Provenance

    1960, bequest of W. G. Russell Allen, Boston (1882-1955) to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 8, 1960)

    Credit Line

    Bequest of W. G. Russell Allen

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    C 170 I

    Dimensions

    Image: 21.6 x 27.6 cm (8 1/2 x 10 7/8 in.) Sheet: 33.7 x 35.8 cm (13 1/4 x 14 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    60.743

    Medium or Technique

    Color Lithograph, proof

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Prints

    More Info
  • The Englishman at the Moulin Rouge

    L'Anglais au Moulin-Rouge, 1892

    1892
    Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901)

    Description

    The impact of Japanese woodblock prints on advanced art is evident here in the use of broad planes of color, bold silhouettes, and an unusual perspective on the figures: two dancers known as Rayon d’Or (Golden Ray) and La Sauterelle (The Grasshopper), who converse or flirt with Toulouse-Lautrec’s friend, the English artist William Tom Warrener.

    Inscription

    l. l.: signed and numbered T Lautrec no. 18

    Provenance

    W. G. Russell Allen (1882-1955) Boston; bequest to MFA June 8, 1960

    Credit Line

    Bequest of W. G. Russell Allen

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Wittrock 002; Delteil 012

    Dimensions

    Image: 47 x 37.2 cm (18 1/2 x 14 5/8 in.) Sheet: 62.2 x 48.5 cm (24 1/2 x 19 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    60.746

    Medium or Technique

    Color lithograph printed in olive-green, aubergine, blue, red, yellow and black

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Prints

    More Info
  • The Clowness at the Moulin Rouge

    La Clownesse au Moulin-Rouge

    1897
    Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901)

    Description

    The female clown with the mock Chinese name Cha-u-ka-o (short for the dance chahut-chaos, a wild version of the cancan) walks arm in arm with a companion, Gabrielle-la-danseuse (Gabrielle the Dancer), at the Moulin Rouge.

    Lithography was invented in the late eighteenth century by Alois Senefelder, a German dramatist and actor, who hoped to find a cheaper method of reproducing his plays. The technique relies on the principal that grease attracts grease and water repels it. Artists and printmakers make designs with greasy crayons and inks on finely ground limestone slabs or on prepared metal plates. After a chemical process affixes the marks to the surface, the stone or plate is inked and then moistened. The wet areas repel the ink and the greasy marks attract it, becoming the areas which print when a sheet of paper is pressed against them. In color lithography, multiple stones are used to print the colors. The standard technique in Toulouse-Lautrec’s day entailed the use of four stones, one for each of the primary colors and an additional stone for black. Secondary colors were created by superimposing one color atop another; blue over yellow, for example, would create green. Toulouse-Lautrec experimented with the juxtaposition of colors and the use of more stones, such that each color had its own stone. He also used a wide variety of techniques for the application of the greasy marks, using brushes and pens as well as crayons to apply lithographic ink, for example, or splattering lithographic ink across the surface to create a soft tonal effect.

    Inscription

    l.r.: signed and numbered T Lautrec no. 20

    Provenance

    W. G. Russell Allen, Boston (b. 1882 - d. 1955); 1960, bequest of W. G. Russell Allen to MFA. (Accession Date: June 8, 1960)

    Credit Line

    Bequest of W. G. Russell Allen

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Wittrock 178; Delteil 205

    Dimensions

    Image: 41 x 32.1 cm (16 1/8 x 12 5/8 in.) (trimmed)

    Accession Number

    60.767

    Medium or Technique

    Color lithograph

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Prints

    More Info
  • Loie Fuller

    1893
    Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901)

    Description

    The American dancer Loïe Fuller created a sensation in Paris in the 1890s with her highly inventive choreography, whipping about with wands voluminous draperies on a glass floor illuminated by colored electric lights. She became the very symbol of the Art Nouveau. Iridescence and billowing motion is conveyed differently in each impression of the print, as each was prepared with varied inkings of the lithographic stones and the application by hand of metallic powders.

    Inscription

    Verso lower right in graphite pencil: LD 39 Verso lower right in graphite pencil: 56.138

    Provenance

    Florence S. Gerstein (1926-2004, Boston); her bequest to MFA

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Florence S. Gerstein

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Wittrock 017; Delteil 039

    Dimensions

    Image: 36.8 x 26.8 cm (14 1/2 x 10 9/16 in.) Sheet: 38 x 27.8 cm (14 15/16 x 10 15/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    2005.243

    Medium or Technique

    Color lithograph, printed from four stones with gold and silver powder

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Prints

    More Info
  • At the Café La Mie

    about 1891
    Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901)

    Description

    Lautrec based this painting on a staged photograph in which his friend Maurice Guibert played the role of a sleazy low-life type in the company of an unidentified woman. The practice of deriving paintings from photographs was one that Lautrec embraced starting in the 1880s. The painting’s title comes from “Un miché à la mie,” 19th-century slang for a client who neglects to pay a prostitute for her services. Might this play on words have a bearing on the enigmatic relationship between these two figures?

    Inscription

    Upper right: TLautrec

    Provenance

    Gustav Pellet (b. 1859 - d. 1919), Paris. Gaston-Alexandre Camentron (b. 1862), Paris; after 1908, possibly sold by Camentron to Alexander Reid (later of Alex Reid and Lefèvre) Glasgow [see note 1]; 1929, sold by Reid and Lefèvre to David W. T. Cargill (b. 1872 - d. 1939), Glasgow [see note 2]; about 1939/1940, probably sold through Reid and Lefèvre Gallery, London, to Bignou Gallery, New York [see note 3]; 1940, sold by Bignou Gallery to the MFA for $24,000 (Accession Date: November 14, 1940) NOTES: [1] Camentron, a dealer, was a friend of the Glasgow dealer Alexander Reid; see Ronald Pickvance, "Daumier in Scotland," Scottish Art Review 12 (1969), no. 1, p. 16. It is possible, though by no means documented, that the painting went to Scotland through these two dealers. It had been exhibited in Paris several times in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, including at the Exposition des Indépendants (1891), Galerie Durand-Ruel (1902), and Galerie Bernheim-Jeune (1908). [2] Francis Fowle, "Post-Impressionism in Scotland," in Impressionism in Scotland (exh. cat., National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, 2008), p. 90. [3] When Cargill died in 1939 part of his collection was dispersed in London and New York; see Francis Fowle, "West Scotland Collectors of Nineteenth-Century French Art," in Millet to Matisse: Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century French Painting from Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow, by Vivien Hamilton et al. (New Haven and London, 2002), p. 48. The painting seems likely at that time to have been sold to Alex Reid and Lefèvre Gallery. Bignou Gallery and Reid and Lefèvre were closely associated and shared a stock of paintings.

    Credit Line

    S. A. Denio Collection—Sylvanus Adams Denio Fund and General Income

    Details

    Dimensions

    53 x 67.9 cm (20 7/8 x 26 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    40.748

    Medium or Technique

    oil paint on millboard mounted on panel

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Paintings

    More Info
  • At the Ambassadeurs- Singer at the Café-concert

    Aux Ambassadeurs- chanteuse au café-concert

    1894
    Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901), Publisher André-Edouard Marty (French, 1882–1974)

    Description

    The café concert, an upscale café offering musical entertainment, became a hit in the late nineteenth century. Often more elegantly decorated than cabarets, many café concerts-like the chic Ambassadeurs-were located on the Right Bank of Paris, along the wide boulevards developed in the 1860s and 1870s. Three important café concerts were to be found in Montmartre: the Divan Japonais (Japanese Sofa), Cigale (Cicada), and Décadents.

    Inscription

    l.l.: T-Lautrec

    Markings

    l.r.: blind stamp L'Estampe originale, Lugt (819)

    Provenance

    W. G. Russell Allen; MFA received by bequest June 8, 1960

    Credit Line

    Bequest of W. G. Russell Allen

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Wittrock 058; Delteil 068

    Dimensions

    Image: 29.8 x 24.4 cm (11 3/4 x 9 5/8 in.) Sheet: 54 x 39 cm (21 1/4 x 15 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    60.764

    Medium or Technique

    Color lithograph printed in olive-green, yellow, beige-grey, salmon-pink, black and blue on wove paper

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Prints

    More Info
  • Stuffed Shirts (Les Plastrons)

    1900
    Pablo Picasso (Spanish (worked in France), 1881–1973)

    Description

    Inspired by the café-concerts and music halls he visited during his second trip to Paris, here the young Picasso captured, in the vein of Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec, the spectacle of modern entertainment.

    Inscription

    Upper left: PR Picasio [sic]

    Provenance

    1901, possibly Eugène Blot (b. 1857), Paris [see note 1]. By 1931, Josef Stransky (b. 1872 - d. 1936), New York; 1936, after Stransky's death, consigned to Wildenstein and Co., London [see note 2]. By 1969, Julia Appleton (Mrs. Charles Sumner) Bird (b. 1894 - d. 1983), East Walpole, MA; 1970, gift of Mrs. Charles Sumner Bird to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 26, 1970) NOTES: [1] This may be the painting lent by Eugène Blot to the Galerie Ambroise Vollard, June 25-July 14, 1901, no. 54 ("Chanteuse"). Ralph Flint, "The Private Collection of Joseph Stransky," Art News 29, no. 33 (May 16, 1931), p. 88, gives the provenance of the painting as Blot, Paris. [2] Exhibited at " 'Collection of a Collector': Modern French Paintings from Ingres to Matisse (The Private Collection of the late Josef Stransky," Wildenstein, London, July 1936, cat. no. 28.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. Charles Sumner Bird (Julia Appleton Bird)

    Copyright

    © 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

    Details

    Dimensions

    13.6 x 22.5 cm (5 3/8 x 8 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    1970.475

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on panel

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Paintings

    More Info
  • May Milton

    1895
    Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901)

    Description

    The British performer May Milton was known for her “pale, almost clownish face… reminiscent of a bulldog.” She and the Irish singer May Belfort were friends and, possibly, lovers. The lettering of the poster was designed by the artist to harmonize with the image.

    Provenance

    Lee M. Friedman (d. 1957, Boston, Lugt. suppl. 1749a); 1958, bequest of Lee M. Friedman to MFA. (Accession Date: February 13, 1958)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Lee M. Friedman

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Wittrock P17; Delteil 356 iii

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 78.6 x 59.7 cm (30 15/16 x 23 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    39.810

    Medium or Technique

    Poster, crayon, brush, spatter, and transferred screen lithograph, printed from five stones in olive-green, blue, red, yellow, and black

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Prints, Posters

    More Info
  • Collection of the Chat Noir

    Collection du Chat Noir

    1898
    Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen (French (born in Switzerland), 1859–1923)

    Description

    This poster advertises the sale of the collection of Rodolphe Salis, the owner of the Chat Noir, which opened in 1881 as the first cabaret in Paris. The artistic patrons of the Chat Noir and its irreverent performances of songs, plays, readings, and parades set the anything-goes tone for Montmartre. Its shadow theater, which combined colored lights, painted backgrounds, and sound effects with sophisticated cut-outs (emphasizing bold shapes and expressive silhouettes), was especially influential on the development of art in Toulouse-Lautrec’s circle.

    Provenance

    International Poster Gallery, MA; Purchased by MFA, March 20, 2002

    Credit Line

    Ernest Wadsworth Longfellow Fund and partial gift of James A. Lapides

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Bargiel and Zagrodzki 32

    Dimensions

    Framed: 155.3 x 117.2 x 4.8 cm (61 1/8 x 46 1/8 x 1 7/8 in.) Sheet: 139.4 x 99.1 cm (54 7/8 x 39 in.)

    Accession Number

    2002.62

    Medium or Technique

    Poster, color lithograph printed in black and red

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Prints, Posters

    More Info

Contents