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Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

The Seated Clowness (Mademoiselle Cha-u-ka-o), 1896

About the Artwork

The Seated Clowness (Mademoiselle Cha-u-ka-o) (from the series Elles), 1896. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Crayon, brush and spatter lithograph with scraper printed in five colors on wove paper with watermark (G. Pellet / T. Lautrec); only state. Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949.
The success of Toulouse-Lautrec's posters advertising Parisian cabarets such as the Moulin Rouge led him to produce deluxe editions of prints of Montmartre's performers, such as this one of the clown and dancer Cha-u-Kao. These lithographs were intended to appeal to fans and print collectors alike. Unlike Lautrec's other images that feature Cha-u-Kao performing, this one captures her off stage in a moment of quiet repose. Her frank pose and almost weary expression suggest we are glimpsing the person behind the persona.

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