Nude Standing before a Mirror Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Nude Standing before a Mirror is also sometimes known as Woman before a Mirror and was completed by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in 1897. It now can be found at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, USA.

This personal portrait features a lady changing whilst standing in front of a mirror. This composition choice allows the artist to feature the front and back of this woman, directly opposing each other. She has red hair which is tied up in a near fashion and her skin is noticeably pale. She wears stockings up to her knee, but is still deciding on what else to wear for the day. The artist therefore captures a very personal moment at which she examines herself and tries to decide what clothes to put on, with her nightwear hanging from one hand as she reveals herself. The artist provides an honest depiction of the woman, who is young and curved, with a natural look that was delivered accurately by the artist and not amended to suit anyone's taste. He did not normally paint women in this state of attire, but grew in confidence as he became older and was also a sensitive artist who appreciated these scenes.

This artwork, Nude Standing before a Mirror, features a busy bedroom in which much of the background is untidy and packed. It appears that the lady has just got and is preparing for the day, and has yet to re-organise the room. An extra element to this painting is that the woman is likely to have been a night worker, which Toulouse Lautrec would feature many times during this part of his career. The woman therefore was particularly keen to protect and foster her appearance in order to continue her occupation but also would have been entirely comfortable in appearing in this manner to the artist. The model is also likely to have been included again within other paintings by Toulouse-Lautrec. He produced a number of lithographs from some of these designs which could then be printed off, spreading his name further and also bringing in extra income.

This piece is one of a number to be found in the United States, with The Metropolitan Museum of Art alone owning a good amount of drawings, paintings and lithographs from his career. These can sometimes be loaned out because of the difficulty in displaying such a large collection and there is also a specialist museum in the south of France which is devoted to Toulouse-Lautrec's career. Beyond those institutions, many more across Europe and the US have handfuls of items from his oeuvre which allows a wide selection of the public to see some of the highlights of his output in person. Other notable artworks from his career include At the Moulin Rouge, Moulin Rouge: La Goulue and Divan Japonais.