The Seated Clown-- from Elles, 1896
Toulouse-Lautrec's respect for Japanese ukiyo-e prints and his admiration for the Japan of his imagination contributed a great deal to his lithographic work.  No only did he base his style on an artistic similar to those Japanese print makers, but his subject matter too--the brothel, theater, circus, cabaret and bar--was identical to that preferred by them.  The theme of Lautrec's famous series of lithographs entitled Elles was at once entirely Lautrec and entirely Japanese: the everyday lives of the entertainers and prostitutes of Montmartre.  It can be viewed as a European version of Utamaro's Twelve Hours of the Green Houses.  The Seated Clown is the most Japanese one of them all, not so much because of its subject matter but because of its range of colors, the pale reds, the yellow, and the black (Frank Whitford, p219). 

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