An original poster from Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is expected to see the highest bids in a New York auction on November 11.
The sale will feature a selection of art nouveau, art deco and modern masterpieces, with 14 designs by Toulouse-Lautrec highlighting the art nouveau section. His Reine de Joie (Queen of Joy) is expected to realise $30,000-50,000.
The 1892 poster advertises a cheap erotic novel entitled Reine de Joy or Moeurs de Demi-Monde (The World of Easy Virtue) by Polish writer Victor Joze, who was a close friend of Lautrec. Lautrec would go on to design a further two lithographs for Joze, with Reine de Joy undoubtedly the most popular.
Respected prints and drawings scholar Ebria Feinlatt notes: "The poster is one of the most piquant and popular that the artist produced. Aside from the acutely realistic characterisations, the impact of the composition lies in the skilful use of pure colour to model the forms, which assume an abstract quality."
The book for which the poster was made caused a furore when originally published, with Baron Rothschild believing the central character, Baron Rosenfeld, to be directly based on him. He attempted to suppress its publication, yet the publishers, fuelled by the publicity Rothschild's claims had caused, instead sold the story in parts.
Also selling is Carl Moos' brilliant depiction of the Italian heiress Luisa Casati. The work was inspired by gossip in 1920s Paris that the socialite would wander the city's streets accompanied by her pet leopard. Moos found the rumours so remarkable that he decided to render Casati and her cat on canvas, which was then used to advertise a local furrier. It is expected to bring $8,000-10,000.
Paul Fraser Collectibles is currently offering a superb selection of rare posters and artwork in our online store.