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Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec "The Rabid Cow" Lithograph


Humor and even satire abound in this remarkable lithograph by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the 1st of 2 states of the famed "Rabid Cow" (or "La Vache enragée") posters. In this first state, a beautiful proof on thin ivory vellum, a host of comical characters run after, with and from a skinny, crimson bull that charges down a barely suggested cobblestone road. The poster was created by Lautrec to celebrate The “Promenade de la Vache enragée” or “Vachalcade," a carnival procession in Montmartre organized first in 1896 and again in 1897 by artists to benefit the hungry (many of whom were artists) in the community. The starved and enraged bull was meant to represent the hungry, a play on the "Boeuf Gras" or fat bull that usually appears in white in parades at Carnival. Edition of 230 proofs of this state.

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  • Curator's Notes

Item #: ML-20139
Artist: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec 
Country: France
Circa: 1896
Dimensions: Sheet Size: 32" height,  23.5" width, Frame Size: 39" height, 30.5" width
Materials: Lithograph paper
Literature: Delteil 364; Wittrock P27.

A magazine was founded for the occasion of the parade in Montmartre, directed by the ex-wrestler Roedel. We read there the memories of Émile Zola, Anatole France or Henri Rochefort on their association with the rabid cow. Rodin will make a passage in the procession, estimated at 450 volunteers around the satirists themselves.

The final word goes to Willette who thanked the participants whose dedicated help made it possible to carry out a difficult task, that of taking the rabid cow by the horns and presenting it to her people of Montmartre.