Catalogue entry

T03575 Horsewoman 1899

Oil on gouache on board 21 7/8 × 16 3/4 (555 × 425)
Inscribed ‘HT Lautrec’ (monogram) b.r.
Bequeathed by Mrs A.F. Kessler 1983
Prov: Pierrefort; Le Garrec; Alfred Lindon; Mrs Kessler
Exh: H. de Toulouse-Lautrec, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris, May 1902 (105, as ‘Amazone’, owned by M. Pierrefort); Nineteenth Century French Paintings, National Gallery, December 1942–January 1943 (40, as ‘L'Amazone au Bois’); French Paintings from the Kessler Collection, York Art Gallery, May 1948 (12); The Kessler Collection, Wildenstein Gallery, October–November 1948 (29, repr.); Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec 1864–1901, Matthiesen Gallery, May–June 1951 (33); The French Impressionists and Some of their Contemporaries, Wildenstein Gallery, April–May 1963 (83); The Kessler Bequest, Tate Gallery, February–April 1984 (not numbered, repr.)
Lit: Maurice Joyant, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec 1864–1901: Peintre, Paris, 1926, p.298 as ‘Amazone’ 1899, owned by M. Le Garrec; M.G. Dortu, Toulouse-Lautrec et son Oeuvre, Paris, 1971, 111, no.P.682, p.416, repr. p.417 as ‘Amazone’ 1899; Denys Sutton and G.M. Sugana, The Complete Paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec, 1973, no.500, repr. p.118 as ‘Horsewoman’; M.G. Dortu and J.A. Meric, Toulouse-Lautrec: The Complete Paintings, London Toronto Sydney New York, 1981, 11, no.590, p.80 repr. Also repr: L'Amour de l'Art, XII, 1931, p.139

It has been suggested that this horsewoman may be Mme Victorine Hansman, an Englishwoman who was a dealer in horses and ran a fashionable riding-school (Lautrec apparently met her at the racecourse at Auteuil and made a drawing of her in 1899), but the identification seems uncertain. There is a slightly smaller drawing (Dortu D.4.544) of 1899 in black and coloured crayons in which the horse and rider are almost exactly the same, but which shows more of the setting in the Bois de Boulogne, with a dog on the left and a man on horseback in the middle distance on the right. Lautrec also made a related lithograph in the same year (‘Horsewoman and Dog’, Delteil 285) of a rather similar horse and rider but in reverse, facing to the right, and with a small dog in the right-hand corner sitting in front of the horse.

Mrs Kessler was herself a keen horsewoman, and continued to ride to hounds, side-saddle, until she was in her eighties.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986