Artcurial is proud to present a rare masterpiece by Henri de Toulouse Lautrec at the Impressionist & Modern Art auction on 29 June. Entitled Une opération par le Docteur Péan à l’Hôpital International, this work was realised in 1891 and has remained in the hands of the same family ever since, which is none other than that of Toulouse Lautrec's doctor, to whom the artist gave it that year. This same doctor, Frédéric Baumgarten, is depicted in the front of the composition. Exhibited only once in 1914, this artpiece is an important rediscovery, as unique in its exclusivity on the market as in its subject.
It depicts a surgical operation in a Parisian hospital at the end of the 19th century. Toulouse-Lautrec is best known for his depictions of cabarets, brothels, Parisian streets and horses . In fact, only two other paintings in Toulouse-Lautrec's oeuvre deal with hospitals: the portrait of Doctor Péan in A Tracheotomy Operation, 1891, now in the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, USA, and An Examination at the Paris Medical School, 1901, in the Albi Museum. This painting is the only one on this subject still in private hands today. Very few artists of the time drew or painted the hospital world, as it was difficult to gain access to it. This is an exceptional testimony to the hospital environment of the time, with which the artist, suffering from major pathologies, was familiar. Thanks to Frédéric Baumgarten, his doctor, and Dr Péan, a renowned surgeon of the time whom he knew, Toulouse-Lautrec was exceptionally allowed to attend an operation. The exceptional nature of this painting places its estimate between €600,000 and €900,000.
This is a highly accomplished work, particularly representative of Toulouse-Lautrec's art with its vivid writing, colourful palette and unique ability to capture the scene unfolding before our eyes in the moment. Works of this quality have rarely been presented on the French market; the last sale on the Paris market of such a complete painting by the artist was in the 1990s.
Bruno Jaubert, Director of the Impressionist & Modern Art Department, comments on this unprecedented discovery: “The exceptional quality of this painting, its subject and its history qualifies this as one of Toulouse-Lautrec’s most unique works of art. It is, without any doubt, one of the most important by the artist to appear on the Parisian market for many years.”
Discover this work during the Impressionist & Modern ArtSale on 29 June 2021, at Artcurial.
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