Dec 19, 2007 - Sale 2133

Sale 2133 - Lot 150

Estimate: $ 40,000 - $ 60,000
23x31 inches.
Condition B / B+: trimmed bottom margin; restoration and minor restored losses along vertical and horizontal folds; minor restored losses at edges and in corners; creases in image.
Lautrec's inimitable style did not lend itself particularly well to advertising commercial items. His posters promoting commercial goods or services were largely for friends and reflect more his affection for his colleagues rather than a firm grasp of commercial advertising concepts. This idea is exceptionally clear in the poster for Lautrec's old friend, the photographer Paul Sescau. Sescau was a local character in Montmartre whose sexual appetites were said to rival Lautrec's. Julia Frey cleverly pointed out that, "Sescau . . . who was reputed to use his studio primarily for sexual liaisons is completely hidden under the black cloth of his camera, but the cloth itself dangles between his legs in a long phallus-shape, and the elegant woman of his focus seems to be trying to flee." (Frey p. 422). And yet there is even more to this inside joke between friends. The poster exists in three states. The second state presents the woman (who is most likely Jane Avril) wearing a yellow mask, a symbol of secret love affairs which would certainly have been the reason for her visiting Sescau. What Frey overlooks is the poster's second phallus, the lens of the camera itself. An anatomical interpretation would suggest that Sescau was equally as well-endowed as Lautrec (who was nicknamed la tour, "the Tower"). Adriani 60, Delteil 353, Adhemar 69, Wittrock P 22 C.