An iconic art nouveau poster by the decadent French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) is to auction in New York on February 5.
The poster, which has been given a $60,000-90,000 presale estimate, depicts a simple, stylised outline of Astride Bruant (1851-1925), an esteemed cabaret star of the Montmartre scene and the owner of the reputedly profligate Le Mirliton nightclub from 1885 onwards.
Works by Lautrec have previously performed very well at auction, bringing substantial sums. In October 2009, La Clownesse assise - a 1/100 colour print by the artist - brought $194,500 at Christie's New York, while Jeune fille tenant une bouteille - a delicate sanguine on paper dated 1886 - sold for $222,000 at Christie's New York in May 2006.
Inextricably associated with the debauched Paris night club scene, which reached a heady peak during the mid 19th century, work by Lautrec that depicts images we might readily associate with the Moulin Rouge, Le Mirliton, et al, is considered both historically significant and inherently collectible.
Along with Cezanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin, Lautrec is thought to typify the (somewhat tragic) 19th century artistic ideal, which lauds the idea of the economically impoverished yet visionary French painter, making unsteady progress through a bottle of Absinthe while painting alone, and from the heart, in his unheated garret.
These are exciting times for those invested in the art market, with several significant sales taking place across the globe. Sotheby's Old Masters sale is set to feature an important painting by renowned British artist JMW Turner estimated at $6m on January 31, while Modigliani's Jeanne Hebuterne is expected to sell for up to $35.2m when it auctions at Christie's on February 6.
Here at Paul Fraser Collectibles we also have a number of collectibles attributed to esteemed artists currently in stock, such as this handwritten letter by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), a leading painter in the development of impressionism and a contemporary of Lautrec.