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Adèle Zoë Tapié de Céleyran was mother to the artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and is pictured here within a portrait which dates from 1887.
The lady has a serious expression upon her face as she reads quietly within a study room or lounge. She is dressed modestly, with no flair within her clothing. Her top half is of a dark blue or black, covering right up to her neck line, other than for a small white blouse which appears briefly. Her dress merges in with the patterned chair on which she sits. Her facial expression is strern and serious, perhaps suggesting that Henri experienced something of a traditional, tough upbringing. Her hair is smart but simple. The room itself is somewhat more positive in mood, with light coming in from the back. Several curtains line the right hand side of the composition, with additional furniture dotted around in a fairly informal manner. The style of the artist makes it hard to see precise detail, but more of an impression of what Henri could see at the time. One can see the influence of Impressionism within this painting, though that was not a movement that Toulouse Lautrec followed to closely and always ensured his own artistic independence.
The artist would only have been in his early twenties at the time of producing this portrait, hence why his mother still looks relatively young within this painting. His bond with his mother would have been critical because of the physical problems that he experienced throughout his lifetime. They were financially secure, which at least enabled their son to try to achieve something within his lifetime, even with the obstacles that had been placed in his way. Henri was certainly connected to the Impressionists and artworks like this help to remind us of that, with personal portraiture being a genre which was well covered within the movement. La comtesse Adèle de Toulouse-Lautrec dans le salon du château de Malromé remains an important piece within his career which tells us more about his relationship with his mother, as well as the stylistic influences will impacted the early part of his career.
The Countess Adele de Toulouse-Lautrec in her Salon at the Chateau Malrome can be found at Musée Toulouse-Lautrec which is based in Albi, in the south of France. In 1922 the artist's mother would actually donate a large amount of her son's oeuvre to the institution, presumably including this very piece. It remains the best place to learn more about Henri's achievements and is a fitting tribute to this important individual's legacy. Many more artworks can be found within the museum, and it continues to receive good numbers of visitors even a century after many of these works were first completed. Few have delivered such an impressive and unique selection of work as Toulouse Lautrec who continues to be seen as something of a cult figure within French art.