The Sofa

Artist: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, Albi 1864–1901 Saint-André-du-Bois)

Date: ca. 1894–96

Medium: Oil on cardboard

Dimensions: 24 3/4 x 31 7/8 in. (62.9 x 81 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1951

Accession Number: 51.33.2


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.