Maxime Dethomas, 1896
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, French, 1864 - 1901
Oil on cardboard, 67.5 x 50.9 cm (26 9/16 x 20 1/16 in.)
Inscription: upper right: HTLautrec / 96 (HTL in ligature)
Chester Dale Collection, NGA 1963.10.219
Photo © Joan Ann Lansberry
"Maxime Pierre Jules Dethomas (October 13, 1867 – January 21, 1929) was a French painter, draughtsman, pastellist, printmaker, illustrator, and was among the best known theater set and costume designers of his era. As an artist, Dethomas was highly regarded by his contemporaries and exhibited widely, both within France and abroad. He was a regular contributor to the Impressionistes et Symbolistes, and a founding committee member of the Salon d'Automne. In 1912, he was awarded the Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur for his contributions to French art. During the latter part of his career, he is best remembered for his work overseeing set and costume design for the Théâtre des Arts and the Paris Opera. His works appear in many important collections, including the Musée d'Orsay (Paris), the Pushkin Museum (Moscow) and the Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg). A large collection of his theatrically related work is held at the Bibliothèque-Musée de l'Opéra National de Paris. Dethomas is also remembered for his close friendship with the artist Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, his brother in-law Ignacio Zuloaga and his association with Les Nabis and other important Post Impressionist and Symbolist artists and writers. Dethomas died in 1929, at the age of 61, and was buried at the Passy Cemetery, Paris."
"Lautrec featured Dethomas in his art with some frequency." "During the final years of Toulouse-Lautrec's descent into full-blown alcoholism, Dethomas would rarely leave his side, often escorting him to his Montmartre home at the end of long drinking sessions. Toulouse-Lautrec's final convalescence at Madrid-les-Bains and Bordeaux in the months leading up to his death, prompted Dethomas to make one last journey for his old friend, their friendship lasting until the very end."