Jane Avril

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

French, 1864–1901

Jane Avril

c. 1891–92

Jane Avril, one of Toulouse-Lautrec’s favorite models, was a famous cabaret performer in Paris. This portrait, however, suggests very little about the energetic dancing style that earned her the nickname La Melenite (dynamite). She appears in street clothes, wearing a plum-colored cape and an extravagant hat, peering sideways through narrowed eyes. Only the unnatural colors of her hair, skin, and lips, set against the green and indigo background, suggest the heavy makeup and harsh lighting in which she appeared on stage.

Medium Oil on laminate cardboard, mounted on panel
Dimensions 24 7/8 x 16 5/8 in. (63.2 x 42.2 cm) Frame: 35 x 36 1/2 x 3 1/4 in. (88.9 x 92.7 x 8.3 cm)
Object Number 1955.566
Acquisition Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1940
Status Off View

Image Caption

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Jane Avril, c. 1891–92, Oil on laminate cardboard, mounted on panel. The Clark Art Institute, 1955.566.


Lees, Sarah, ed. Nineteenth-Century European Paintings at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute; New Haven and London: distributed by Yale University Press, 2012.


Frantz Jourdain, Paris (by 1898–d. 1935); Francis Jourdain, his son, Paris, by descent (1935–until at least 1936); [Wildenstein, New York, by 1939, sold to Clark, 10 Feb. 1940]; Robert Sterling Clark (1940–55); Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1955.