1887 Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864 - 1901)
oil on canvas,
56 cm x 46 cm
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
Vincent van Gogh was a good friend of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, whom he knew from the studio of the Paris artist Fernand Cormon where the two painters took lessons. Theo purchased this painting for his private collection, probably on Vincent’s recommendation.
It shows a woman sitting at a table in Toulouse-Lautrec’s studio. The red pot in front of her contains perfumed rice-powder, which women applied to their faces to give themselves a fashionably pale complexion.
The surface of the painting is matt and transparent – an effect that Toulouse-Lautrec achieved through the peinture à l’essence technique. Blotting paper was used to remove the glossy oil from the paint, which was then diluted with turpentine. The technique was very popular among modern painters.