Monsieur, Madame and the Dog (Coupled brothel keepers) (c.1894) by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Monsieur, Madame and the Dog (Coupled brothel keepers) - Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - c.1894

Artwork Information

TitleMonsieur, Madame and the Dog (Coupled brothel keepers)
ArtistHenri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Dimensions48 x 60 cm
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationMusee Toulouse-Lautrec, Albi, France

About Monsieur, Madame and the Dog (Coupled brothel keepers)

The artwork “Monsieur, Madame and the Dog (Coupled brothel keepers)” was crafted by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec circa 1894. This piece, executed in oil, is an exemplar of the Post-Impressionist movement. The genre painting measures 48 x 60 cm and currently resides at the Musee Toulouse-Lautrec in Albi, France.

The artwork captures the interior scene of a brothel, depicted in a style characteristic of Toulouse-Lautrec that includes elements of caricature and a vivid interpretation of 19th-century Parisian nightlife. Two figures dominate the composition; they are presumably the brothel keepers. The male figure sits in the foreground, directly facing the viewer. His expression appears neutral, and he is dressed in a suit with a buttoned shirt, his hands gently folded over one another.

To his right, the female figure is also shown in a sitting position, slightly turned away from the viewer, suggesting a casual, relaxed posture. She holds a small dog, which is a common motif symbolizing loyalty, companionship, or domesticity, adding a personal touch to the portrayal of the couple. The use of color is both expressive and nuanced, with brushstrokes that bring a sense of immediacy and intimacy to the scene.

Both figures are outlined with bold strokes, and the background is rendered with lighter, sketch-like lines and washes of color, implying a less defined space. The choice of palette, predominantly in warm tones, enhances the mood of the setting, imbuing the scene with a warmth that belies the typical public perceptions of such an establishment.

The painting’s composition, use of color, and the keen observational qualities show Toulouse-Lautrec’s ability to invoke the essence of his subjects with both empathy and a touch of satire, a hallmark of his work during the vibrant Belle Époque period.

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