A Box at the Theatre La Grande Loge

A Box at the Theatre La Grande Loge (étude)
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1896

It's funny how knowing the rest of a painter's repertoire can make you evaluate a given painting in a different light. I'm familiar with Toulouse-Lautrec's portraits of rowdy Parisian life and prostitutes, and it makes me wonder what he imagines between these two staid theater-goers. Why the dark red furnishings and pale white of their faces? Who's the frowning man one box over? Who will come to fill the other seats in this box - their husbands, more lady friends, or some other men? Questions, questions...