Full set of ten (original printing 1896) estimated at US $ 500,000-700,000,
Christies, N.Y. Lot 22, Oct. 2001 (edition of 100 only, very rare)
"While the drawing of this print is the most delicate and subtle of
the series, it is also the most obviously animalistic. As a study
of an exhausted harlot, of the woman as a human animal..." (Elles,
The Toulouse-Lautrec Circle of London, p.40)
Jane Avril (1868-1943)
"They were his friends as well as his models. He in turn had an uplifting
effect on them. In his presence they were just women, and he treated
them as equals. When he ate with them, often bringing a party of friends,
they held their knives and forks daintily, restrained their conversation,
had the feeling of being women of some standing. Lautrec's almost
womanly intuition and sympathy shone like a light for them"
(Jane Avril quoted in D. Sweetman, Toulouse-Lautrec and the
fin-de-Siecle, London, 1999, p.341)
The Elles portfolio
"Lautrec's series Elles (consisting of 10 sheets with a frontispiece
and cover) is one of the high points of 19th century art. It was
a pictorial to what the artist experienced in the maisons closes
(brothels) of Paris. 'They' are 'women to my liking', as he used
to say cynically, and he often lived with them for weeks at a time
during 1892 to 1895, constant witness of their daily lives, of suffering
and intimacy…" (Adriani,
Fernand Mourlot (1895-1988)
In 1952 the renowned French printer printed this superb series "Elles"
for collectors. They are reduced lithographic versions of Lautrec's
most famous portfolio. They are truly the most beautiful printing
we have been able to find in this size format.
Mourlot Studios was a commercial print shop founded in 1852 by the
Mourlot family and located in Paris, France. It was also known as
Imprimerie Mourlot, Mourlot Freres and Atelier Mourlot. Founded
by Francois Mourlot, it started off producing wallpaper. Later,
his son Jules Mourlot would expand the business to handle the production
of chocolate labels for companies such as Chocolat Poulain, as well
as ledgers, maps and stationary. Starting in the 1920s, Jules' son,
Fernand Mourlot, converted one of the locations into a studio dedicated
to printing fine art lithography.
As vintage printings of Lautrec's work, in all formats, reach high
prices, this mid-century printing offers a superb alternative at
a reasonable price that will only appreciate in value.