May Belfort

May Belfort


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

(French, 1864-1901)


Support: Carboard

Framed: 86 x 71.5 x 8.9 cm (33 7/8 x 28 1/8 x 3 1/2 in.); Unframed: 63 x 48 cm (24 13/16 x 18 7/8 in.)

Bequest of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. 1958.54



Like Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec was inspired by the caféconcerts, popular places of entertainment that featured singers or other forms of vaudeville entertainers. In 1895 Lautrec visited the café-concert known as Les Décadents, where he encountered the Irish singer May Belfort who became one of the artist's favorite models. Here, he depicted her on stage wearing one of her signature Kate Greenaway-style dresses with short puffed sleeves terminating in lace ruffles and a ruffled bonnet beneath which her hair escapes in a cascade of dark curls. Her appearance was intentionally babyish and the lisping voice in which she sang enhanced the illusion of extreme youth. She was said to have stood erect and motionless, as if carved out of wood, while the clients of Les Décadents shouted the choruses of her songs.

See also
DR - French
Type of artwork: 

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Is something not working on this page? Please email

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email