Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901), Cover of the portfolio L’estampe originale, no. 1 1893. Lithograph. Graphic Arts division, French prints G9

Toulouse-Lautrec contributed two designs for covers to L’estampe originale, which offered an original lithograph to its subscribers three times each year between 1893 and 1895. This lithograph is the first. It shows dancer and singer Jane Avril studying a fresh impression at the Paris lithography studio of Édouard Ancourt. The master printmaker at the press is Père Cotelle

Although only around 100 copies of this print were made, it has become one of the iconic images of the 1890s. Indeed, Toulouse-Lautrec’s colorful lithographic posters are almost synonymous with the Belle Époque. Inspired by Japanese woodblock prints, note the flatness of the design, a strong diagonal, and the large areas of muted color.