Despite his noble birth, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec chose to live his life outside polite society. As both a patron and lodger, he moved in and out of brothels, and he often spent his evenings sketching in the corners of Parisian cafés. He found comfort within these walls of wantonness. Choosing to place himself among the marginalized, he was treated in many ways like a family member—sharing meals with the women and earning their trust. Toulouse-Lautrec viewed prostitutes with great compassion, and his artworks reveal the ordinary aspects of their lives. The female figure in Woman Lifting Her Chemise raises her garment in anticipation of a compulsory medical examination, a theme featured in several of his paintings. This work was created when, at the age of 37, Toulouse-Lautrec’s own health had already deteriorated as a result of long-term alcoholism, which prompted, in part, a darkening of his palette and a focus on interior scenes.