Henri Rouart, Paris
His sale, Galerie Manzi-Joyant, Paris, 10 December 1911
Strolin Collection, Paris
John Quinn, New York
Cornelius J. Sullivan, New York, 1939
Edward Drummond Libbey Collection
The Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio
Wildenstein & Co., New York
Acquired from the above in 1958
Thence by descent to the present owner
Paris, Galerie Goupil, 1912
Chicago, The Art Institute, Loan Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings, Prints and Posters by Toulouse-Lautrec, 23 December 1930 - 18 January 1931, no. 14, p. 18
New York, The Museum of Modern Art, 10thLoan Exhibition Lautrec-Redon, 1 February - 2 March 1931, no. 14, p. 14
New York, Wildenstein & Co., Loan Exhibition of Toulouse-Lautrec, 1946, no. 12, ill. p. 23
Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, Toulouse-Lautrec, 6 March - 20 April 1947, no. 15
Philadelphia, Museum of Modern Art, Chicago, The Art Institute, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, respectively 29 October - 11 December 1955 and 2 January - 15 February 1956, no. 28
Toledo, Museum of Art, European Paintings Acquired Since 1939, 1955, no. 3
Paris, Grand Palais, Salon d’Automne, October - November 1976
Lausanne, Fondation de l’Hermitage, 15 June - 20 October 1985
Andros, Museum of Contemporary Art, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Classics of Modern Art, 27 June - 19 September 1999, pp. 90-93, ill. p. 91
Andros, Museum of Contemporary Art, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Toulouse-Lautrec, Woman as Myth, 24 June - 23 September 2001, no. 4, ill.
Milan, Fondazione Antonio Mazzotta, Le donne di Toulouse-Lautrec, 14 October 2001 – 27 January 2002
Vente Henri Rouart, auction catalogue, Galerie Manzi-Joyant, Paris, 9-10 December 1911, lot 284, ill. p. 149
Arsène Alexandre, La Collection Henri Rouart, Paris, 1912, p. 112, ill. p. 173
Fine Arts Journal, London, March 1913, ill.
Gustave Coquiot, Lautrec, Paris, 1921, ill. p. 129
Maurice Joyant, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Peintre, Paris, 1926, p. 272
Paul de Lapparent, Toulouse-Lautrec, Paris, 1927, p. 21
Herbert Eulenberg, “Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec”, Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, 1929, vol. LXIV, ill. p. 74
Jedlicka Gotthard, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Berlin, 1929, no. 126
Pierre MacOrlan, Lautrec, Peintre de la lumiere froide, Paris, 1934, ill. p. 43
Jacques Lassaigne, Toulouse-Lautrec, Paris, 1939, p. 165, ill. p. 67
“The Sullivan Collection”, Magazine of Art, December 1939, vol. 32, p. 711
“Our Works by Lautrec”, Museum News, September 1940, illustrated on the cover
Pierre MacOrlan, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paris, 1941, ill. p. 42 (the image is inverted)
Hans Tietze, Toulouse-Lautrec, New York, 1953, p. 36, ill. fig. 5, p. 13
Madeleine Grillaert Dortu, Toulouse-Lautrec et son œuvre, New York, 1971, vol. 2, no. P398, ill. p. 229
Among the places Toulouse-Lautrec particularly loved, there was a garden a few meters away from his home in Montmartre. In that vast area of lush vegetation, almost left in its natural state, he greeted his models, mainly prostitutes from the brothels he frequented, but also more eminent personalities, artists and musicians. It was there that he painted between 1888 and 1891, his most important outdoor portraits, including The woman in the garden of monsieur Forest.
The artist painted the woman depicted, named Honorine, who was probably not a professional model or prostitute, at least twice. In this version, the model appears in three-quarter pose, looking the viewer straight in the eye, with her fingers intertwined, without wearing accessories. The painter opted for a minimalist palette with white, green, violet and a warmer touch for the reddish gold hair. The face is undoubtedly more treated: the thin brush strokes are small and precise; the features are subtly rendered, refuting the accusations that the painter constantly pursued caricature at that time. The gaze, reflecting a subtle worry, is not at all distant, but straight and gracious.
The surrounding surface has been elaborated in a much more abstract way. In this respect, Lautrec comes closer to Degas than to other Impressionist painters. “The landscape is and should be only auxiliary […]. The landscape should serve only to understand the character of the form”, he said. Trees, mainly chestnuts, plane trees and lilacs, look like pale volumes painted with quick and moist strokes, a technique facilitated by the addition of turpentine to the oil. The model’s silhouette, highlighted by the arrogant head posture and the dress, which allows us to guess the slim body underneath, are also painted roughly, with thicker strokes. At many sites, the cardboard remains unchanged, implying a complete spontaneity. In this respect, Toulouse-Lautrec’s main concern is the same with that of the Impressionists: to capture the moment. But at the same time, he distances himself from them by focusing all his attention on the model, without worrying about the rendering of light and colours.
All in all, the oil paintings created in Mr. Forest’s garden brought about a refreshing air in Toulouse-Lautrec’s artistic production; thus we walk out on the heady atmosphere of his studio, the cafes, cabarets, brothels, to see the light of day.