Moulin Rouge, La Goulue, poster for the Dance Hall Le Moulin Rouge

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864 - 1901)

lithograph in four colours on wove paper, 201 cm x 123.5 cm
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (State of the Netherlands)


No fewer than 3,000 copies of this advertisement for the Moulin Rouge were displayed in the streets of Paris in December 1891. The poster made Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec famous overnight and he quickly came to be seen as one of the greatest print designers of all time.

Here he depicts two artistes who performed regularly at the famous nightclub. The woman kicking her leg in the air is La Goulue (‘Glutton’), a celebrated cancan dancer who owed her nickname to the gusto with which she approached everything, from eating and drinking to dancing. Her dance partner in the top hat is Valentin le Déssossé (‘Valentin the Boneless’), so called because of his supple moves. Lautrec presents them here as caricatures, with exaggerated facial features and poses.

The abruptly cropped silhouettes of Valentin and the audience add to the dynamism of the composition. The deep black, the bright, solid colours and the playful typography also help make this a masterpiece. The poster is large and had to be printed in three parts. This copy is unusual in that it is still intact: the upper band, including a large part of the words ‘Moulin Rouge’ is often missing.

What is it?
What can you see?
Context
printmaker
printer
commissioner

Object data

Object number
p0914N1996
Edition
2nd state of 4
Dimensions
201 cm x 123.5 cm, 193.5 cm x 116 cm, 207 cm x 132 cm
Catalogue raisonné
Delteil 339, Adriani 1, Wittrock P1

Inscription/label

signature
HTLautrec
inscription
MOULIN ROUGE Concert MOULIN ROUGE BAL MOULIN ROUGE TOUS les SOIRS LA GOULUE by Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri de
inscription
TOUS LES SOIRS MOULIN ROUGE les Mecredis et Samedis BAL MASQUÉ , Deze tekst is niet door Toulouse-Lautrec ontworpen
inscription
Affiches Americaines CH.LEVY.10.Rue Martel. Paris
stamp
MOULIN ROUGE, MOULIN ROUGE,
stamp
REPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE 2/MES10 ENSUS CEN. 20. SEINE

Literature

  • David A. Brenneman ; with contributions from Riva Castleman, Laura Dickey, Frances Fowle ... [et al.], Toulouse-Lautrec & friends : the Irene and Howard Stein collection, 2010, p. 14-15
  • Gabriel P. Weisberg ...[et al.], Japonisme : Japanese influence on French art 1854-1910, 1975, p.108-109
  • Riva Castleman, Toulouse-Lautrec : posters and prints from the collection of Irene and Howard Stein, 1998, p. 26-27
  • Fleur Roos Rosa de Carvalho, Marije Vellekoop, Prentkunst in Parijs : de rage van het fin de siècle, 2012, p. 149
  • Annette Dixon with Mary Weaver Chapin, Jill Devonyar, Richard Kendall, ... [et al.], The dancer : Degas, Forain, Toulouse-Lautrec, 2008, p. 182-183
  • Mary Weaver Chapin, Posters of Paris : Toulouse-Lautrec and his contemporaries, 2012, p. 25-26
  • Jane Kinsman and Stéphane Guégan, Toulouse-Lautrec : Paris and the Moulin Rouge, 2012, p.170-171
  • Ed.: Phillip Dennis Cate ; with contributions by Fred Leeman, Christopher Lloyd, Belinda Thomson, Toulouse-Lautrec and la vie moderne : Paris 1880 -1910, 2013, p. 106-108
  • M.G. Dortu, Toulouse-Lautrec et son oeuvre, 1971, p. 232-235, 522-523, 526-527
  • Hollis Clayson, Illuminated Paris : essays on art and lighting in the Belle Epoque, 2019, p. 129, 179-181