Lot 626: Autograph manuscript in French and Latin, signed at the conclusion three times, "Monfa," two pages, both sides, 8 x 12, with the top of the second page bearing the red stamped monogram, "HTL." Lautrec tells the legend of Hercules and Cacus, in full (translated): "The face was horrible; his strength was matching his stature, his body was huge and this monster was the son of Vulcan. The dwelling was a cave with deep refuges, and so hidden that wild animals could hardly find it. Human heads and arms are nailed at the entrance; dried up ground is whitened by bones. The son of Jupiter left the rest of his oxen herd, so poorly watched over; the one that were stolen lowed. I hear the call he said, and was guided by the sound. The avenger reached the monster caves. He had blocked the entrance with a boulder detached from the mountain. Ten men would have barely shaken it.Hercules lifted it on his shoulders, the same one that had lifted the vault of heaven and by his effort he shattered his load. Even the air resounded with the noise of that fall and the weight of this mass rattled the land…Cacus engaged the fight first and in his furor he attacked with blows of stone and sticks. That had no effect, in vain he resorted to his father's strategies and spewed flames noisily. When he blows you would think hearing a typhoon or quick thunderbolt thrown from the ablaze depths of Etna. The son of Alcide warned him and grabbed him with his three-knotted club, he struck three or four blows on his adversary's face. He fell and vomited a torrent of blood and of smoke and while dying a large space of earth ran over him."Lautrec has also added multiple small ink sketches to the top and bottom borders of the manuscript, including several rough sketches at the top of the first page, most likely of Cacus; five partial and complete sketches of oxen next to the stamped monogram at the top of the second page; two sketches of a man's head at the bottom of the third page; and two sketches of horse heads at the conclusion.A bit of scattered mild soiling and light wrinkling and creasing, and a couple of trivial edge tears, otherwise fine condition. Accompanied by a letter from the Committee Toulouse-Lautrec confirming the authenticity of this work.While the world has come to recognize Lautrec as a master storyteller through his artwork, this remarkable piece shows him honing his skills in both word and image. Though he was physically defined by his frailty, the polar opposite of the mythic Hercules, the artist held a different kind of strength far surpassing the ordinary man. Bringing to life the figures of this epic tale with but a few rough lines from his pen, stunning examples of his characteristic simplicity, he gives new form to the centuries-old story, presenting a truly Lautrecian vision. The first Lautrec we have offered with his rare "Monfa" signature (the conclusion of his complete family name, Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa, referring back to the village in southern France whence his descendants came), and holding multiple sketches in his easily recognizable style—including two of horses, which frequently appeared in his work—this is by far the finest piece we have ever offered from the bohemian master.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 456
Wednesday, 15th July 2015
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