The artwork was produced using black chalk on paper, using a relatively small area of just 14,6 x 7,6 cm. It may well have originally been a part of a small sketchbook before later being separated and given away as a gift. This drawing came up for sale as recently as 2021 and achieved a sale price of 17,640 Euros at Sotheby's, Paris. The model for the portrait has never been confirmed beyond doubt but the suggestion of Wilde holds some potential because of how he appeared in several Toulouse-Lautrec paintings. He was a great lover of French culture and would later exile himself here after his lifestyle brought him into conflict with the law in England. Perhaps in a similar manner to Toulouse-Lautrec, he would find himself free and comfortable within Montmartre, for example, but also specifically appreciated the intellectuals that he came across here. This particular drawing is limited to just an outline, with the briefest of details covering the gentleman's hat and hair. The shape suggests a portly figure in fairly thick clothing, with his coat reaching all the way down to his knees.
Toulouse-Lautrec completed many caricatures within his lifetime and would often tease his friends by adapting their image into a humouress one. He would meet and become friends with Wilde towards the end of the 19th century with the latter passing away in Paris just a few years later. Descriptions of Wilde at that time would confirm his portly appearance, and so the attribution to him as the model for this piece feels fairly likely. Wilde would also later be featured by the artist within some of his other more complex paintings, though not with the intention of anyone knowing who it was supposed to be. The artist even included himself in much the same anonomised manner. The style of this drawing, with brisk strokes of the pencil to be found on his legs and around the outline suggests that the artist was working in a playful manner and may have finished it in just a few minutes.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec used many mediums across his career and some remember him most for his posters which would help promote all manner of different creative ventures across Paris. He started to advertise novels and luxury items in a similar manner to Czech illustrator, Alphonse Mucha, but Toulouse-Lautrec created a unique body of work which focused on theatre activities. He loved ordinary people and was fascinated by their lives, discovering content from that which was intimate and interesting to a global audience, both then and now. His drawings display some of the raw skills which lay behind the more complex figurative work and deserve attention for this.