France 1864 – 1901
Passenger from number 54 - on a cruise [La passagère du 54 - promenade en yacht]
1896 planographic crayon, brush and spatter lithograph, printed in seven colours
sheet 60.8 h x 40.2 w cm
Purchased with the assistance of Orde Poynton Esq. CMG 1992
Accession No: NGA 92.272
Passagère du 54 of 1896 illustrates an incident from Toulouse-Lautrec’s own life. On a cruise he undertook in 1895 from Le Havre to Bordeaux he became infatuated with the beautiful occupant of cabin 54.
He failed, however, in his efforts to be introduced to her. The work shows us the partially obscured object of his desire. She is not particularly attractive and sits prosaically in a deckchair; serene, absent, quietly oblivious to his tortured longing. Passagère thus documents for all of us our own failures of courage, our universal nostalgia for moments that are irretrievably lost, unacted upon.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra