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Sale 2453 Lot 77
HENRI DE TOULOUSE-LAUTREC (1864-1901) BABYLONE D'ALLEMAGNE. 1894.
53x36 1/4 inches, 134 1/2x92 cm. Chaix, Paris.
Condition B+ / B: restored losses, repaired tears and darkening along vertical and horizontal folds; repaired tears and creases in margins and image. Matted and framed.
The design and printing of the poster for Babylone d'Allemagne was partly an inside joke and partly an international scandal. The poster advertises a book written by Lautrec's friend Victor Joze. The two had worked together before, in 1892, when Lautrec designed a poster for La Reine de Joie, another book by Joze that resulted in a huge scandal. Two years later, Joze again approached Lautrec to help promote his latest work, The German Babylon, exposing the decadence of the Berlin aristocracy. The poster, one of Lautrec's most elaborate designs, is composed of two opposing diagonals. The first is the line formed by the ascending cavalry parade, with handsome young officer astride his mount. The second diagonal is formed between the hirsute sentinel and a passing bourgeois couple, the woman casting her glance at the blond rider. The white haunches of the horse (the uninked paper itself) are outlined in Lautrec's favored olive green, and the space attract the viewer's eye. He also uses the green, in crachis (splatter), in the background. The typography is carefully organized so not as to impose upon the image. When Joze saw the finished poster, with the prominently displayed horse's rump and the unattractive German guard (allegedly a caricature of the Kaiser), he felt that it was too dangerous to post all over town, and that there might be a political backlash against it. Lautrec had obviously anticipated his friend's concern, and to thwart any plans to squelch the image, had paid for the printing and distribution of the poster himself. Adriani p. 96, Delteil 351-II, DFP-II 832.
Estimate $20,000 - 30,000