Toulouse– Lautrec was the descendant of an old French noble family and studied under Cormon from 1882 – 1886. There he met Bernard and van Gough among others, and began to paint in light colours in an Impressionistic manner. He spent much time exploring the haunts of Paris night-life, where he sought inspiration and motifs for his work. He did not see the demi–monde (a class of women of a doubtful reputation) through the eyes of his own social class, but through the eyes of a man for whom all barriers of class difference had long since fallen. With subtle empathy, he translates his observations into realistic images charged with atmosphere and creates character studies that give a lively insight into their respective situations. Color in all its nuances and graduations is the main vehicle of expression for Tousoluse – Lautrec.
This painting feature a glimpse into the salon of a brothel in the Rue des Moulins in which the painter would sometimes spend weeks, sketching and painting the life of the prostitutes. With his painting of demi–monde, he documented the hidden side of bourgeois civilization, indulging in vice only in secluded places and degrading physical love to the level of a business transaction. His paintings stand in stark contrast to the works of the academic and Symbolist painters who were his contemporaries. Toulouse – Lautrec counters the hypocritical allegories of the day by casting an almost clinical eye on the life of the social outcasts with whom he identified.