Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec’s Program for ‘Raphael and Salome’ (1898)

Author: Oscar Wilde

Book ID: 68242

Price: 3,500.00

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s program for the double bill of Salomé and Raphaël at the Théâtre de l’Oeuvre, Paris. With printed cast lists and portraits of the two authors. [Published by Théâtre de l’Oeuvre, Paris, 1896]. Black lithograph on brown Vellum paper. Signed in the plate in the upper right margin, with Toulouse-Lautrec’s monogram. [Sheet size: 32.5 x 49.8 cm]. In good overall condition, with light handling creases, minor stains, visible folds. and the vellum paper yellowed. Remains of white adhesive tape on verso, not visible from recto. The image is otherwise very clean and well inked.

Wilde’s play, Salome, was written in French and first published in 1893. The consummate French actress Sarah Bernhardt was slated to play the tragic lead in the premiere of Salomé in London in 1892, but legal issues shuttered that production. It eventually appeared in its original French in Paris in 1896, while Wilde was in prison for gross indecency.

The play was performed on February 10, 1896. At the time Lautrec produced this programme, the English author was serving a severe sentence of two years hard labour following his conviction on 25 May 1895.

‘Let us retain, in this rather remarkable production, some pieces. First of all, the Œuvre’s program for the February 10 performance, a particularly important show since it included, in addition to Romain Coolus’ Raphaël, Oscar Wilde’s Salome. Lugné-Poe had commissioned the lithograph from Lautrec, and he declared himself delighted with it (Acrobaties, page 152).’ The play was a success and the Echo de Paris wrote the following day: ‘The applause of an elite audience, resounded across the Straits, through the wall of the English prison, to the unfortunate prisoner at Reading.’ Lautrec was pleased, for while he was by no means attracted to Wilde, he and his friends Natanson found the judgment far too harsh (Adhémar, p. XXIV)


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