The Seated Clowness (Mademoiselle Cha-u-ka-o) (from the series Elles)

Series/Portfolio: Elles, 1896

Artist: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, Albi 1864–1901 Saint-André-du-Bois)

Publisher: Gustave Pellet (French, Paris 1859–1919 Paris)

Date: 1896

Medium: Crayon, brush and spatter lithograph with scraper printed in five colors on wove paper with watermark (G. Pellet / T. Lautrec); only state

Dimensions: Image: 20 9/16 × 15 13/16 in. (52.2 × 40.2 cm)
Sheet: 20 9/16 × 15 13/16 in. (52.2 × 40.2 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949

Accession Number: 49.55.50


The success of Toulouse-Lautrec's posters advertising Parisian cabarets such as the Moulin Rouge led him to produce deluxe editions of prints of Montmartre's performers, such as this one of the clown and dancer Cha-u-Kao. These lithographs were intended to appeal to fans and print collectors alike. Unlike Lautrec's other images that feature Cha-u-Kao performing, this one captures her off stage in a moment of quiet repose. Her frank pose and almost weary expression suggest we are glimpsing the person behind the persona.