Henri de Toulouse Lautrec was a renowned and great artist who is recognized for his work such as the poster of Jane Avril. He was very essential also in creating graphic posters and adverts for dance halls like the Moulin Rouge dance hall which is a used symbolic to exhibit cheerfulness and even the frenetic spirit of the nightlife.
Most of the graphic prints that were done by Henri de Toulouse Lautrec were basically meant for advertisement, this is essential to increase the input hence his popularity. Jane Avril whose portrait is drawn in the picture was known to be having a friendship relationship with the artist; they were not just client and poster designer people. The graphic drawing of Jane Avril is known to have been made in the French country. In that period, Lautrec as a very developed artist and used various composition of the art to come up with the graphic print which could not be mistaken not to be the portrait of Jane Avril.
This consists of a combination of intense cropping of some features and very compressed parts so as to fit and also be flattened as this was a drawing done on a flat surface. The artist also using lines that were winding and looked like to be flowing, these were specifically used to show the costume Jane Avril was wearing. Jane Avril's costume is depicted to be frilly and winding to enable her dance easily. In the print, her leg is seen to be in a 'kick' position while she is dancing. The winding and flowing design was basically meant to free her while dancing by ensuring no resistance at all and also since it was good looking, it enhanced her fragrance.
By kicking her leg while raised and across, she was able to trigger the sound of the double-bass strings. The drawing shows her leg cutting across the strings which is the procedure by which the sound is produced although in the real life, one uses their hands. The drawing of the double-bass is not as compressed as the rest of the graphic print and looks even larger than Jane Avril herself. This is as to why she uses her legs to match the strings of the instrument in order to produce the echo. The other fascinating and unexplained feature of the graphic print is that, there is hand holding the double-bass although the individual's whole figure cannot be seen in the print.
Only the fingers of the palm holding it are seen and the hand itself just like the instrument looks to be dominant as it also not as compressed as some features of the graphic print. The print consists of a number of colours which makes it good looking and attractive. Henri de Toulouse Lautrec uses very many colourful lithographic stone in creating this print hence its colourfulness in appearance. The lithographic stone colours are chosen to be used precisely and artistically to produce an attractive print. The colours range from yellow, green, acidic orange and even the dominant inky black on the cover of her legs and hands. The handle of the double-bass and its strings; which produces the echo while thrusting her legs in the form of a kick is also done in the black colour lithographic stones.
Jane Avril was known to be a dancer in a larger part of her life as being described by those who recognized her well. The early artists could say it was associated with her condition but the graphic print was purposely a marketing strategy so as to attract more people to her performances. The artist Henri de Toulouse Lautrec made this print for his friend Jane Avril to help her advertise her upcoming show. The show was going t be held in the City of Paris in the year 1893 and it was famously known as the cabaret show. Jane Avril was also widely recognized for her uniqueness especially in her style of dancing.
Unlike other dancing styles and forms, hers was very unique and very unusual to the people of Paris in those moments. They described it as 'the orchid in frenzy' as it was popularly referred to her audience and fns who watched her dance. The name suggests the dance as she dressed to look awesome with the various shades depicted even by use of different attractive colours in the graphic print. Some ancient renowned writers like Frantz Jourdain from Belgium described her as the beautiful creature and even said it was a captivating flower. Though in other words by the author, she is depicted as not being normal and even sick.
His description of her as being sick was from the history of her movement disorder which led to her being admitted in a hospital in December 1882. The disorder consists of various symptoms such as thrashing of limbs like she has done in the print on the double-bass, rhythmic swaying and even sometimes increased nervousness.
Tom Gurney in an art history expert. He received a BSc (Hons) degree from Salford University, UK, and has also studied famous artists and art movements for over 20 years. Tom has also published a number of books related to art history and continues to contribute to a number of different art websites. You can read more on Tom Gurney here.