Au cirque: Entrèe en piste

Object Details

Title:

Au cirque: Entrèe en piste

Artist/Maker(s):

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864 - 1901)

Culture:

French

Place(s):

France (Place created)

Date:

1899

Medium:

Black and colored pencils on paper

Dimensions:

31 x 20 cm (12 3/16 x 7 7/8 in.)

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In a letter dated March 1899, an English poet wrote: "Toulouse-Lautrec you will be sorry to hear was taken to a lunatic asylum yesterday." The scandal was in fact highly publicized. By the time Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was thirty-five, he was suffering from alcoholism and dementia, most likely brought on by syphilis. His behavior was unpredictable, and often violent. Desperate, his mother had him committed to a clinic, then known as an asylum, outside of Paris.

While in the clinic, Toulouse-Lautrec set upon the idea of creating a series of circus drawings to demonstrate his emotional stability and thus secure his release. Drawn from memories culled over many years of attendance at this popular entertainment, these works reveal his acute observation of horses, dogs, acrobats, clowns, and bareback riders. In this image, a performer still wearing her slippers follows a lumpy horse into the arena to perform for the spectators in the stands. Toulouse-Lautrec elongated the shadows behind the slippers to emphasize the woman's fatigue. Upon being released from the clinic after only three months, Toulouse-Lautrec declared: "I bought my freedom with my drawings."

Provenance

Maurice Joyant, by 1912

M Knoedler (Paris), by 1931

Mrs. E. Marshall Field, by 1956

Jacques Guerlain, by 1971

Private Collection (Switzerland)

Exhibitions
H. de Toulouse-Lautrec (April 9 to May 17, 1931) (Cat. 250)
  • Musée des Arts Décoratifs, (Paris), April 9 to May 17, 1931
The Circus by Toulouse-Lautrec (November 30 to December 12, 1931) (8)
  • Knoedler & Company, (New York), November 30 to December 12, 1931
Toulouse-Lautrec: Paintings, Drawings, Posters and Lithographs (March 20 to May 6, 1956) (83)
  • The Museum of Modern Art (New York), March 20 to May 6, 1956
To Create a Living Art: 19th Century Drawings (May 1 to July 15, 2001) (83)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), May 1 to July 15, 2001
Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre (March 20 to October 10, 2005) (270; catalogue by R. Thomson, P. D. Cate and M. W. Chapin)
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), March 20 to June 12, 2005
  • The Art Institute of Chicago, July 16 to October 10, 2005
Defining Modernity: European Drawings 1800-1900 (June 5 to September 9, 2007) (270; catalogue by R. Thomson, P. D. Cate and M. W. Chapin)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 5 to September 9, 2007
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - The Path to Modernism (October 16, 2014 to January 25, 2015) (77)
  • Das Neue Kunstforum der Bank Austria, (Vienna), October 16, 2014 to January 25, 2015