Wittrock P.11. Crayon, brush, spatter and transferred screen lithograph
Printed in four colours. Text by the artist Divan Japonais/75 rue des Martyrs/Ed Fournier/directeur, artist’s signature lower right, printer’s name lower right Colour stones printed separately and in combination, key stone printed in olive-green, colour stones in black, yellow and red On one sheet of wove paper, Printed by Ancourt and Commissioned by Ed. Fournier, owner of the Divan Japonais. Size of edition not known (c.1000).
The poster was prepared down to the typographic details in several sketches—Dortu P.420, P.459, A.201, D.3223. It was put up on 20 January 1893 as an advertisement for a small café concert at 75 Rue des Martyrs, started by Jehan Sarrazin and, since autumn 1892, run by Edouard Fournier. It was decorated in the so-called Japanese style with lanterns and mock bamboo. Unlike the MOULIN ROUGE poster, it is not the star who draws the attention here—the singer Yvette Gulbert (1865—1944) who had her first stage successes her in 1892 is up in the top left-hand corner, with her head cut off by the edge of the sheet—but two spectators in a box, typical of the literary audience which filled the Divan Japonais: Jane Avril (1868—1943) and Edouard Dujardin (1861—1949), a critic of literature, music and art. The brilliant Jane Avril celebrated her greatest triumphs under the name of La Melinite, doing wild dances in the style of Kate Vagham at the Jardin de Paris, the Casino de Paris, the Moulin Rouge and the Folies Bergere.
The critic Gustave Geffroy said in the liberal periodical La Justice on 15 February 1893 that Lautrec’s posters for Bruant, La Goulue and now the Divan Japonais had conquered the streets of Paris with invincible authority. Felix Feneon himself, spokesman of the Neo-Impressionist, commented on these first posters with great enthusiasm on 30 April 1893 in the newspaper Pere Peinard, which had anarchist leanings: ‘By the devil, he is impudent, young Lautrec; he’s not timid, either in his drawing or his colour. White, black and red in big patches with simple shapes, that’s him. There isn’t another like him; no-one can show the grimaces of the bloated capitalists like he can, sitting at their tables with their little whores ,licking their chops to sharpen them. LA GOULUE, REINE DE JOIE, the DIVAN JAPONAIS and two for a bar called BRUANT, that is all he has done in the way of posters, but it is all exploding with will-power, impudence and wickedness, and those who want nothing but candy floss to eat stand quite speechless’.
An extraordinary, fine, fresh impression. The colors extremely strong and vibrant. The full sheet in excellent condition.