This item was owned by US photographer, Alfred Stieglitz, who is better known by some as the husband of Georgia O'Keeffe. The drawing then passed on through his family before coming up for sale relatively recently. It achieved a sale price of $12,500 which was just above its presale valuation. Original drawings from this artist are still highly desirable, as most work from his career that comes up for sale today tends to be limited edition prints from his work with lithography. These are also popular, but of lower value because they are not unique in quite the same way. One element which adds value to Little Pony of Calmese is in how it focuses on a key theme within this artist's career, reminding us of how often Toulouse-Lautrec created portraits of horses. He did this most often in the earlier part of his career, whilst still a teenager and living on his family's large estate. There were many horses kept on their premises which he could sketch and paint in peace, slowly developing his abilities by himself.
The artwork itself features a horse from a side angle, standing just in front of its stable. It turns its head slightly towards us, perhaps being aware of the presence of the artist but without being overly concerned. The pencil touches here are very light, with just a few elements darker from where Toulouse-Lautrec has gone over them several more times. The horse's head is a little more prominent, as is its stomach. There appears to be a small dog appearing from the left hand side, which would have been what attracted the attention of the horse. The artist signs this piece in the bottom right corner, suggesting that he was happy with it and willing for others to see it. The drawing is dated at 1898 by which time the artist's colourful lifestyle was starting to catch up with him, further damaging his physical problems but also starting to impact his mental health as well.
This drawing is known to have appeared at the Museum of Modern Art in New York as far back as 1947 as part of a temporary loan and this sort of documented history will always help to increase interest in a piece. His name remains strong within Europe and the US, with some of his original paintings on display in major galleries across both of these regions, helping to expose his work to new generations all the time. The style, with links to graphic design, feels very contemporary too, even after a good one hundred years or more have passed since he first put these designs together. Many are unable to bid on the more expensive pieces, leaving considerable interest for artworks such as this.