Toulouse-Lautrec was from an aristocratic family, but he spent his adult life among the common people of Montmartre, and its cafés, cabarets, dance halls, and theater were the subjects of his art. In 1895 he became enthralled with Marcelle Lender, the star of the comic opera Chilpéric, in which she wore a headdress with two giant red poppies. He is said to have attended the show 20 nights in a row to watch her dance the bolero. Lender became the subject of several lithographs by Lautrec. Here he depicts her in mid-performance, her mouth open in song as she leans towards her audience. The focus on Lender’s head and shoulders points to the influence of nineteenth-century Japanese woodblock portraits of famous kabuki performers that had been recently imported into France. This technically difficult lithograph, which required eight stones, one for each exquisite color, exemplifies Lautrec’s mastery of the medium.
From Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 89 (2015)
Artist Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec, French, 1864-1901
  • Mademoiselle Marcelle Lender, en buste
Date 1895
Medium lithograph printed in color ink on cream wove paper
Dimensions Image: 13 × 9 3/4 inches (33 × 24.8 cm)
Sheet: 14 1/2 × 11 inches (36.8 × 27.9 cm)
Credit Line Museum Purchase, Graphic Arts Council Purchase Fund
Accession Number 2007.149
Department Prints, Drawings & Photographs
Not On View
2007-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)