This preliminary sketch for a poster made by Toulouse Lautrec in the year 1896 is a work of art in itself, as well as a very illuminating document of the skill of this painter, as well as to discover their work process.
We must bear in mind that we are dealing with a sketch made on cardboard with charcoal, chalk and colored pencils, but nevertheless it is a sketch of considerable size since it is a cardboard of 73 x 92 cm.
Toulouse Lautrec's sketch for the poster of La Troupe de Eglantine
We can see how the artist is able to capture the immediacy and vertigo of a dance like the can-can thanks to his technique, and with that sketch he will later transfer that in a much cleaner way to the poster of that variety company, who had commissioned him to do this work for an upcoming tour they were going to do in Great Britain.
The truth is that we have received many sketches in which we see that the artist followed this work process that began with making quick sketches with pencils and chalk on cardboard, and took advantage of the color and texture of that cardboard to integrate it in the composition. For that reason, here the ocher tone serves to highlight the blue lines that indicate the silhouettes and the dance, while the white spots correspond to the petticoats of the artists and their faces.
But whatIt is true that even in the sketch he is portraying the dancers, among whom is Eglantine, who gives the troupe its name, but also Jane Avril, whom years before he had already represented in another poster dancing the cancan.
That is the magic of Toulouse Lautrec, who in a sketch, taken at the bar, of course drinking and in full performance in a cabaret, was able to capture endless details. And he also does it using a really original perspective. An oblique line oriented from bottom to top, which may well be the one that the spectators who attend the show have.
The truth is that if we compare the sketch with the final poster, the truth is that the work was practically conceived on the cardboard, except for the inclusion of color and signs, which he already had in mind from the first moment, choosing the aforementioned perspective to have free space where you can include the information.
Definitive poster for La Troupe de Mademoiselle Eglantine by Toulouse Lautrec