The Seated Clowness (Mademoiselle Cha–u–Kao), 1896
Henri de Toulouse–Lautrec (French, 1864–1901)
Lithograph printed in five colors on wove paper; 20 7/16 x 15 3/4 in. (51.9 x 40 cm)
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949 (49.55.50)
The success of Toulouse-Lautrec's posters advertising Parisian cabarets such as the Moulin Rouge led him to produce deluxe editions of prints of Montmartre's performers, such as this one of the clown and dancer Cha-u-Kao. These lithographs were intended to appeal to fans and print collectors alike. Unlike Lautrec's other images that feature Cha-u-Kao performing, this one captures her off stage in a moment of quiet repose. Her frank pose and almost weary expression suggest we are glimpsing the person behind the persona.