The top lot of the night was Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec’s Pierreuse (1889), from the Estate of Mrs. Henry Ford II. After fierce competition between bidders, the painting surpassed its high estimate by $4 million to sell for $9,062,000. The portrait shows his favorite model, Carmen Gaudin, in profile, dressed in black against an impressionistic background.
Toulouse-Lautrec was fond of portraying the working class in a dignified manner. In La Blanchisseuse (The Laundress), he shows Gaudin, whose beauty he found captivating, looking longingly out of a window. Like many working-class women of her era, Gaudin washed clothes by day and worked as a prostitute by night to make ends meet. This 1886 painting set a record for Toulouse-Lautrec when it was sold for $22.4 million at Christie's in November 2005.