Artworks
Woman Pulling Up Her Stocking
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mjacobson's picture

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Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was a fancy boy from an aristocratic family.  

Just like many rich white kids before and after him, Henri had the privilege to sit around at home with his mother in Paris and doodle. Since the family had both money and nobility, there was no pressure for Henri to pursue a “real career” like being a boring lawyer or something. His family supported him in the pursuit of his passion.

One product of this pursuit is Woman Pulling Up Her Stocking.  The title really hits it on the nose, because here we clearly have a naked lady beginning to redress by pulling up her stocking. Henri liked soft, curvy women and often painted them without any body hair.  His style is almost the exact opposite of artist Egon Schiele, who loved bony, pale women with full bushes.  Given this woman’s bent head, scarf, and newly applied stockings, only her torso is visible.

Henri loved looking at the ladies and frequented brothels, but according to his paintings he was not a very sexual being. Or at least, he painted the prostitutes he paid in more benign and intimate moments than you’d expect for a trip to the whorehouse. Maybe he was too shy or insecure to get a date IRL due to his health problems, caused by years of inbreeding within the family (OK, even rich white boys have problems). Both of his thigh bones broke due to a genetic disorder, and since they did not heal properly he was doomed to never reach 5’ in height, despite having an adult-sized torso. Maybe that’s why he has such a fascination with lady-torsos.  Or maybe it’s because that’s where the boobs are.