Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec became friends with persons he painted– artists, entertainers, street people and prostitutes. Lautrec is well known for his street posters of Paris nightlife, and this is one of his favorite subjects, Jane Avril, a singer and dancer at the famous cabaret, Moulin Rouge. This 1899 poster captures the provocative essence of the cabaret. Avril’s sensuous silhouette is composed of simple, fluid shapes filled with bright, flat colors. The coiling snake emphasizes her curves and suggests she’s a temptress, Eve to Adam. Don’t you love her back bend.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901), Jane Avril, 1899, Colour lithograph, 56 x 38 cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Rosenwald Collection, 1953.6.137.