About this artwork

This work is one of the last posters that Lautrec made before a significant decline in his physical and mental health.

Inspired by an earlier photograph, it shows the dancer Jane Avril in an extravagant hat and long dress decorated with a snake motif. Born Jeanne Beaudon, she was renowned for her ‘jerky movements and sudden contortions’, a common symptom of the movement disorder Sydenham's chorea she was diagnosed with as a child. This trait led to her nickname La Mélinite, a type of explosive material.

The design is considered to be one of Lautrec’s most compelling works; yet examples of it are particularly rare as it was rejected by Avril and her manager, meaning it was never publicly used.

see media
  • title:
    Jane Avril
  • accession number:
    P 2557
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • subject:
  • materials:
    Lithograph in coloured inks on paper
  • date created:
    1899
  • measurements:
    56.00 x 36.00 cm (framed: 86.30 x 60.80 x 2.70 cm)
  • credit line:
    Purchased 1963

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec