Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec has been associated with the Moulin Rouge since its opening in 1889: the owner of the legendary nightclub bought the artist’s Equestrienne as a decoration for the foyer. Toulouse-Lautrec populated At the Moulin Rouge with portraits of the legendary nightclub’s regulars, including himself—the diminutive figure in the centre background—accompanied by his cousin, physician Gabriel Tapié de Céleyran. Dancer La Goulue arranges her hair behind the table where Jane Avril, another famous performer, socialises.
Singer May Milton peers out from the right edge of the painting, her face harshly lit and acid green. At some point, the artist or his dealer cut down the canvas to remove Milton, perhaps because her strange appearance made the work hard to sell. Whatever the reason, by 1914 the cut section had been reattached to the painting.
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