Confetti

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Confetti
lithograph
1894

An original Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec lithograph print.

1894

Original lithograph printed in three colors (grey-green, yellow, red-brown) on wove poster paper.

Signed on the stone with the artist’s monogram device lower right. 

A superb impression of the only state, the title and printers credit line added by the artist, additional text added by another hand.  Commissioned by J. & E. Bella, London; printed by Bella & de Malherbe, London & Paris.

Catalog: Delteil 352; Adhémar 9; Wittrock P13; Adriani 101. 

23 x 15 inches

This poster was executed by Lautrec in the fall of 1894 for the London based paper manufacturers J. & E. Bella.  The lithograph was based on an oil maquette done in the same year which is now in the Bührle Collection in Switzerland.  It is probably the most festive of Lautrec’s posters depicting a giddy half-length girl dizzily overwhelmed by the product she advertises – confetti manufactured by the company which commissioned the image.  Confetti pays homage to the spirited girls of Jules Chéret’s posters, although its abstraction deletes much of Chéret’s rococoism. The composition also illustrates the influence on Lautrec of Pierre Bonnard’s poster images, particularly France-Champagne.
Lautrec’s international influence and popularity is, once again, illustrated in this poster.  Presumably to promote the use of papers manufactured by their company, the brothers Bella organized two international poster exhibitions, one in 1894 and one in 1896, both held at the Royal Aquarium in London.  Not only did the Bellas invite Lautrec to participate in their first exhibition, they commissioned him to do the advertisement for their company, their own entry in the exhibition, over an English artist. 
The product being advertised, confetti made out of paper, was new in 1894.  Prior to that it had been made out of plaster chips.  After the Mardi Gras celebration in Paris in 1892, the original product was outlawed in that city after a rage of confetti-throwing from balconies resulted in injuries to passers-by.  By 1893 paper streamers, so-called “nouveau confetti”, had been introduced by companies such as Bella as is documented in Lautrec’s masked ball painting of that year.  Not only was the poster the Bellas entry into their own poster exhibition, it introduced a new product to the French public in an image created by their best-known artist. 

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