European Art: 19th Century

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Red-Headed Woman in the Garden of M. Foret, Summer 1887

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

French, 1864-1901
Oil on cardboard
28-1/8 x 22-7/8 in. (71.4 x 58.1 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
F.1973.37.P
© 2012 The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

Toulouse-Lautrec took advantage of the verdant Montmartre garden of Monsieur Foret to paint at least four works. Two of them feature the same pensive woman with striking red hair, probably Carmen Gaudin, a favorite model of the artist's at that time. Toulouse-Lautrec has boldly used lavenders and greens to heighten the vivid impact of the woman's hair. The sumptuous color and exuberant brushwork create a delicate network, unified by the tan cardboard support that reveals itself across the surface. The effect of filtered and reflected sunlight is achieved by repeating the lavenders and greens in the model's dress and skin, and the angular fronds of spiky shrubbery echo the angles of her profile. The medium is oil, but the artist's use of clear, thin brushstrokes creates the effect of a quickly sketched pastel.

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