Dec 17, 2008 - Sale 2167

Sale 2167 - Lot 135

Estimate: $ 50,000 - $ 75,000
24 1/8x30 3/4 inches, 62x78 cm.
Condition A / A-: buckling in upper corners from hinges on verso. Paper. Matted and framed.
Lautrec made few forays into the world of commercial advertising. When he did it was generally to promote services for friends, and often Lautrec paid for the printing himself. Such was the case with this poster for his 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. 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"). The poster exists in three states. This extremely rare, 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. Adriani 60 II, Delteil 353, Adhemar 69, Wittrock P 22 B.