The item captures a long portrait of a man which is stretched across the full length of the paper. Two heads can be found, with the second being added afterwards as a quick practice which maybe unrelated to the main design. We find an elderly man with beard and balding hair line. Below his shoulders the rest of his torso is completed with straight lines as an afterthought. Detail on this design is not considerable by any means, and it does not look to have been intended for others to see, but more as a means to practicing the challenging genre of portraiture. It is likely that this figure was a single component of a more complex painting and that the artist wanted to try out ideas for each bit one by one before putting them together within the final composition. The angle is a traditional side profile, cut off from around the shoulder area. He left plenty of space to add more of the figure's body but chose not to do so and just left angled lines for that part.
The drawing was entered for auction at Sotheby's in 2020 and achived a sale price of 8,750 EUR, having received an initial estimate of 8,000 - 12,000 EUR. The artist wrote "Monsieur BONNAT" on the back of the sketch which is likely to have been the subject of the portrait, and perhaps the piece was intended as a gift. The item has been confirmed as from Toulouse-Lautrec's career and also was featured within a catalogue raisonne of the artist's work in the early 1970s. These factors helped to increase its valuation, though the relatively simplistic nature of this sketch means it would not achieve quite the same valuation as other, more developed, sketches which have earned several times more than this within similar auctions. He was a prolific artist who also released large numbers of lithograph prints, and so items from his career regularly appear at auction, even a good century after his career took hold.
Toulouse-Lautrec was highly skilled as a draughtsman and this formed the basis of most of his art. He could create form from just a few lines of the pencil and this effortless appearance was the result of years of practice and study. He expanded on his drawings to produce paintings and prints, though often the original lines were still visible. He liked to use an approach which was highly contemporary, with lines and colour kept to a minimum, whilst still being enough to see all of the details of the composition. This style worked well with advertising, where an immediate impact was necessary and viewers may not be close enough to see highly detailed elements.