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Lautrec Authentication

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Investigadores de autentificación

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Authentication  and  Attribution  Investigations

 

 

 

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Authenticating the art of Henri de Toulouse - Lautrec (1864–1901)

 

  Son and heir of Comte Alphonse - Charles de Toulouse, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was born on November the 24, 1864 in the South of France.    Lautrec was the last in the line of an aristocratic family that dated back over a thousand years. Today the Lautrec family estate houses the Musée Toulouse-Lautrec.

As a child, Henri was weak and sickly, but by the time he was ten years old he had begun to draw and paint with an astonishing ability. At the age of twelve Toulouse-Lautrec broke his left leg and at fourteen his right leg. The bones never healed properly and his legs ceased to grow. He reached maturity with a body trunk of normal size but with abnormally short legs. He was only 4 1/2 feet tall. Deprived of the physical life that a normal body would have permitted, Toulouse-Lautrec lived completely for his art.

He lived in the Montmartre district of Paris, the center of the cabaret entertainment and bohemian life that he loved to depict in his work. Dance halls and nightclubs, racetracks, ladies of the night - all these were memorialized on canvas or made into lithographs.

 Toulouse-Lautrec was very much an active part of this community, where often he would sit at a crowded nightclub table, laughing and drinking, meanwhile making swift sketches of those around him. Then when back in his studio, he would expand the sketches into brightly colored paintings.

In order to join in the Montmartre life - as well as to fortify himself against the crowd's ridicule of his appearance - Toulouse-Lautrec began to drink heavily, but by the 1890s the drinking was affecting his health and he was confined first to a sanatorium and then to his mother's care at home. Sadly, he could not stay away from alcohol and Toulouse-Lautrec died on September 9th, 1901, at the family chateau of Malrome.

 


 

 This is Lautrec's rare poster which he designed specifically for the French singer and songwriter Aristide Bruant (1851-1925) ( right) who typified and dominated the Parissienne, Montmartre café and concert scene. Among the most insulting of performers, Bruant delighted his audiences with his lewd and domineering treatment of them.

 Commissioned by the singer himself, this poster was issued in four editions announcing performances at the Théâtre Royal and the Alcazar Lyrique and the singers homecoming in Montmartre.

 Perhaps this is the most memorable of all of the Bruant posters by Lautrec, standing as the perfect reminder of the café era, it was designed to be overprinted with different texts for different occasions.

The artist captures perfectly the personality of Bruant with the trademark black cape, scarlet scarf and the black hat which had become symbolic of Bruant himself.

 They appear today as reproductions of the originals claiming to be legitimate.

Aristide Bruant

     
 For major works by any artist to suddently appear out of the blue is going to cause suspition and deeper scrutiny by experts and it's not unusual for them not to appear on the art market that often. Even Sotheby's sale of Lautrec’s “Au Lit: Le Baiser" with the levels of research that they go to, caused some consternation, as it appears oddly just a little different from a pastel work he created of a similar encounter, Dans le Lit, le Baiser Date: 1892 which caused a few raised eybrows'

 

 
Henri de Toulouse - Lautrec Au lit: le baiser 1892  
Henri de Toulouse - Lautrec Dans le Lit, le Baiser
1892

 

 What is far more common with forgeries, are the sudden appearances of creations of proprtionate parts of Lautrec's works, much the same as with Degas and his ballerinas. The fakers choose to take single elements from within a work and reproduce them on paper to convince us that it is a preparatory study for a particular and larger work. The less canny fakers just copy a picture, but that is easily identified.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step one in the Art Authentication process

The Pre-Authentication Assessment.

 Before you start any Lautrec art authenticity or artist attribution investigation, it is wise to have an impartial preliminary assessment of viability conducted first, made to independently balance any negative issues there may be against the positive.

We are happy to professionally undertake that study for you as a safety net, based upon the images that you supply, all the known facts regarding its acquisition, the history and provenance of the work as is known to you.

You will then have a far better understanding of the prospects and pitfalls that may lie ahead.

See our FAQ's for details of the process

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