Le Deuxieme Volume de Bruant
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864 – 1901) was a French painter, printmaker, draftsman, and illustrator. The period he created his art was known as the Belle Époque and his focus was on the decadence in Parisian society. In many ways both Lautrec and Bruant owed their fame in part to each other. In 1892, Lautrec designed Ambassadeurs, one of the most enduring images of the performer, which captures his famed arrogance. The cabaret star loved the image, and Bruant in turn became one of Lautrec's best clients, commissioning three additional posters from him. This poster shows the combined insolence of Bruant and Lautrec. The performer, dressed in his trademark black velvet suit, hat and boots, doesn't even deign to face the public, turning his back on viewers. Through Lautrec's genius, the performer doesn't have to show his face, as his back is immediately recognizable. "This poster was printed with three different texts, and also used on the cover of Le Mirliton. . . [this variation advertises] Bruant's second volume of songs and monologues . . . Interestingly Bruant chose Steinlen to illustrate both books but still turned to Lautrec for the poster to advertise it, astutely sensing the difference between Steinlen's more narrative, illustrative style and Lautrec's bold graphic language.