An original lithograph printed in black ink on wove paper. Signed on the stone with the artist’s monogram device upper left. This is a fine impression of Wittrock and Adriani’s only state of this rare lithograph, from the edition of only fifty, numbered “No. 24” in pencil by the publisher at the lower left sheet tip. Also bearing the artist’s monogram stamp (Lugt 1338) in red ink lower left. Published and distributed by Edouard Kleinmann, Paris. Lautrec’s sudden enthusiasm for the classical theater arose from his friendship with Romain Coolus, whose real name was René Weil and who was Lautrec’s constant companion for a time, even on his regular visits to the maisons closes in the Rue d’Amboise and the Rue de Moulins after 1892. Coolus was a great lover of literature and the theater, and Lautrec frequently accompanied him to the Comédie Française in the 1893-94 season, where he admired, among others, the actor Charles Jules Truffier in the role of Trissotin, and Marguerite Monceau, known as Moreno, as Armande in Molière’s Les Femmes Savantes. Here Lautrec has illustrated the episode in which Trissotin reads out the poem to the précieuses ridicules. According to Adhémar the play was only performed on 26 August and on 3 and 18 September 1893, since Moreno did not find the role to her liking. The lithograph must have been made directly afterwards, although it was not published by Kleinmann until February 1894.
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