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The Laundress

Painting, 1886, 93×75 cm

Description of the artwork «The Laundress»

Toulouse-Lautrec was 23 years old when he painted "The laundress". Young and unsure of their abilities Henri was still in the workshop Fernand Cormon responsibly and followed all the advice of the teacher. In the morning classes Kormon, inspired by the latest archaeological finds, trying to draw away the disciples monumental scenes from the life of primitive people, and to conclude the lesson, was advised to go outside and make sketches right in the middle of Montmartre everyday life. Extracurricular job Cormon liked Lautrec is much more than academic studies.

Homework was a real pleasure senior friends, the artists generously shared with the newcomer Lautrec a list of the choicest low places and corners of Montmartre, where life was seething. Once leaving the restaurant, Lautrec noticed the slim girl with flaming red hair and could not resist: "How good! Typical whore! I'd love to write it!" Carmen Gaudin was not a whore, but a simple worker, meek and humble, and then another, and responsible model, the model of several of the portraits Lautrec (1, 2, 3, 4).

Henri wrote to his mother that found the girl with hair of gold, and told his friends that red female is for the Venetians, and was passionate about the Carmen.

If could artist at the time, something to rejoice more than her good graces, so it is only a confession from the lips of a true guru, whom Lautrec adored, and which is not seen equal in all of modern French art. He would never have dared to ask personally Edgar Degas take a look at his scribble, friends Lautrec begged the meter at least one glance to throw on the paintings of Henri. Stingy with praise and incapable of flattery Degas to Lautrec supportive, in contrast to Carmen, who remained faithful lover, constantly beating.

Young Henri of paintings by Degas studied and admired them. "The laundress" Lautrec turned a brilliant emotional opposite "Ironers" Degas in the apparent similarity in the composition, and identical location model, table, window in space. Unlike Degas, Lautrec takes the girl attributes her profession, has shifted the emphasis from the external world to the internal. Unlike anonymous and devoid of individual traits of a silhouette written by Degas, Lautrec casts soft rays on the face of his heroine. So angelic glow illuminates the faces of saints on ancient frescoes.

Lautrec all women were angels – he was staring at their hair the color of gold a little from the bottom up. This view of the model is easy to follow and in "the Washerwoman." Lautrec was lower than those of women, which he wrote and which was in love. But even then, in recent years apprenticeship, he took them from this inner storm, piercing sadness and inescapable loneliness. This portrait of Carmen Gaudin, and not a portrait already – we even her eyes can't see. Only the creeps suddenly turn...

An anonymous buyer in 2005 at Christie's auction in new York, bought the painting for a record of that day for Henri de Toulouse Lautrec the amount of $ 22 million.

Author: Anna Sidelnikova
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait, Genre scene

Style of art: Post-Impressionism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1886

Size: 93×75 cm

Artwork in selections: 44 selections

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