The Sofa

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 817

Lautrec set out to document the lives of prostitutes in a series of pictures executed between 1892 and 1896. At first he made sketches in brothels, but he was apparently hampered by insufficient lighting and had his models pose in his studio. He appreciated the naturalness of sitters like this lesbian couple, "who stretch themselves out on the divans…entirely without pretensions." The candid image may take its cue from Degas’s monotypes of brothel scenes and erotic Japanese prints.

#6023. The Sofa

The Sofa, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, Albi 1864–1901 Saint-André-du-Bois), Oil on cardboard

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