Toulouse-Lautrec Napoleon lithograph to beat $146,500?

A colour lithograph of Napoleon by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) is the star lot in Elite Decorative Arts' July 13 auction in Florida.

Toulouse-Lautrec Napoleon lithograph
Toulouse-Lautrec funded the edition himself after losing out to his own student in a competition

The work is #20 in a limited series of 100 lithograph prints, titled simply Napoleon, by the celebrated post-impressionist artist. It is hoped that it will beat the $146,500 seen by #48 from the series at Sotheby's in April 2012.

The piece was created in the summer of 1895, when art dealer Boussard, Valadon et Cie held a competition. The aim was to create a poster to advertise a new biography of Napoleon by William Milligan Sloan, which would be published in Century Magazine in 1896.

Toulouse-Lautrec entered the contest after encouragement from his friend and director of Boussard, Valadon et Cie, Maurice Joyant.

However, his design was not to the taste of the illustrious judges - who included successful society painters Detaile, Gerome and Vibert, as well as respected Napoleon scholar Frederic Masson - and instead the award was handed to his former student and minor artist Lucien Metivet.

So, feeling dejected but still proud of his work, the artist decided to have an edition printed at his own expense.

In February, one of Toulouse-Lautrec's most recognisable posters, Astride Bruant, sold for $60,000 at Swann Auction Galleries.

Paul Fraser Collectibles is currently offering this fantastic California League of Sexual Freedom poster for sale, as well as this avant-garde poster for Pontins' 1968 May Ball.

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