Eighteen

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La Toilette

1896 by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Musée d’Orsay

Here we have Toulouse-Lautrec’s observation of a woman unaware; compared to that of González’s in postcard 17, his is more reserved, tentative almost, as we watch her from behind. The colours are fresher — lighter, cooler — not as earthy and warm as González’s Grecian limbs. The skin is milky, almost translucent white, only broken by the elegant contours of the figure’s back bone and curve of her waist. All this is then juxtaposed with the fiery red of the hair. Piled carelessly on top of the head it contrasts sharply with the rest of the painting’s palette, holding our attention, drawing our eyes to the point of the picture — the woman herself. Central as she is among piles of fresh laundry the effect is a natural one, of cleanliness, of what lay behind the over-elaborated dresses and costumes of the time. Toulouse-Lautrec often painted can-can girls; here he chooses to show what their painted faces hide.

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Filed under Nineteenth-Century

One response to “Eighteen

  1. Pingback: Three hundred and eight | postcardwall

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