Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's lifelong friendship with dancer Jane Avril (French, 1868–1943) is perhaps most famously represented in his series of graphic works featuring the performer. In 1893, she commissioned this poster to advertise her cabaret show at the Jardin de Paris, one of many café and concert halls on the Champs-Élysées. The composition, executed from a unique perspective with large areas of flat color, displays qualities borrowed from ukiyo-e—a type of Japanese woodblock printmaking that greatly influenced Toulouse-Lautrec’s style. In this image, Avril’s dispirited expression is contrasted with the suggestive nature of her performance, thereby suggesting that the artist was perceptive of not just Avril’s bodily gestures but also emotions.
Label from Monet and the Impressionist Revolution, 1860–1910, November 15, 2015–March 20, 2016