||In 1891, Toulouse-Lautrec decided to investigate the potential of lithography. Working with Pierre Bonnard's lithographer Ancourt, he learned the craft from the bottom up - and within months, brought it to an unprecedented artistic zenith. He managed to cram some 400 lithographs into the remaining ten years of his life, 31 of which were posters, and all of which were the cream of graphic design. His masterpieces define the limits of poster style: where Jules Chéret epitomizes a completely external, impersonal viewpoint, Toulouse-Lautrec is the embodiment of internal, personal vision with a point to make - not, to be sure, a moral judgment, but rather an amused, wry observation on the passing scene.
Once he became immersed in Paris nightlife, entertainers became his primary subject matter, but he was also known to create portraits and caricatures for many of his friends. He skillfully used lines and color to subtly imply background or props for his characters, and these touches incorporated reality with the already present warmth and charm in his posters.
This is a 6 color lithograph reproduction (1950) of Lautrec's 1896 design. This fine poster, which has all teh qualities of an engraving, was shown at the Exposition du Telegramme, at Toulouse (4th-14th December, 1907).
Lautrec was apt to indulge in the most fantastic whims. Wishing to travel from Paris to Bordeaux, he would decide to take ship at Le Havre and make a real voyage. On one of these occasions, he refused to leave the boat at Bordeaux; he was in pursuit of an unknown woman (La Passagere du 54), of whom he had caught a fleeting glimpse aboard the Chili. So he continued as far as Portugal, and was much inclined to go on to Dakar. However, his friend Guilbert, who was with him, drew the line at this, and the two of them landed at Lisbon. Lautrec, dissatisfied, made the captain promise to send a cable in his name from Dakar, to some friends in Paris whom he wanted to astonish!...