Throughout the 1890s Toulouse-Lautrec visited brothels in Paris and spent days observing the women there. A series of paintings on this theme culminated in 'Au Salon de la Rue des Moulins' of about 1894 (Albi, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec), which depicts the women sitting awaiting their clients.
This painting may represent an early stage in the genesis of the Albi picture, but it also belongs to a series of paintings focusing on the friendships between the women which often, as here, portrayed intimate moments or gestures of companionship or sympathy.
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