The Barrison Sisters

Maker and role
Artist: Réne Georges Hermann-Paul, French, 1864-1940
ca. 1895
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Object detail

image, 12 x 9in (30.5 x 22.9cm)
sheet, 19 1/4 x 12 3/8in (48.9 x 31.4cm)
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Further information
The Barrison sisters were Americans who found great fame and fortune on the Parisian stage of the 1890s. They were known for often using double entendre in their lyrics, including "Voulez vous voir ma chat?" This literally read "Would you like to see my cat?" but means something else entirely. When the crowds boisterously responded in the positive, the sisters would lift up their skirts to reveal kittens hanging out of their underwear.

This lithograph, with its fluid lines and splattered ink, is reminiscent of prints by Hermann-Paul's contemporary and fellow cabaret denizen Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Unlike Lautrec's prints, however, Hermann-Paul's lithographs are not well known, perhaps owing to their rarity. While a catalogue of the artist's prints has not been produced, only three impressions of The Barrison Sisters are believed to exist.
The Circle of Toulouse-Lautrec: An Exhibition of the Work of the Artist and of His Close Associates; Phillip Cate (b.1944); 1985; p. 121; fig. 127, cat. 86 (Zimmerli's impression, not McNay's)
Signature & date
Signed, l.l.
Inscribed, l.l.: 2" and stamped with Sagot's blindstamp (Lugt 2254)
Subject period


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