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A man and a woman ride in an open carriage pulled by a horse galloping away from a beach. 

The people are well dressed in nineteenth century attire. A dark-skinned woman wearing a dress with straight posture almost standing holds the reigns. A fair-skinned man on her left wears a light grey coat and black top hat, his arms crossed as he leans back from the speed of the carriage moving forward. The black horse has all hooves off the ground, galloping toward left. A black dog races alongside darting to the left, all paws off the ground. A palm tree is painted in the center behind them, a few people dot the sand.

Gallery Text

This painting has posed a puzzle since it entered the Wertheim Collection in 1937. It was known that Toulouse-Lautrec created it while he was still a young artist, but the identity of the black woman at the center of the composition remained a mystery. She was sometimes said to be a countess the artist had seen while spending the winter in Nice, then a seasonal resort community for affluent French families. An archival discovery in 2019 revealed that she is likely Anne Justine Angèle Delva de Dalmarie. A member of the Haitian aristocracy who had emigrated to France, she was famous in Paris and Nice for her lavish parties. The clothing of the man beside the countess suggests that he is her coachman, a sign of her affluence. The countess, though, has taken the reins, speeding along Nice’s sunny shoreline while a dog gives chase.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, French (Albi 1864 - 1901 Malromé)
The Black Countess
Other Titles
Original Language Title: La Comtesse Noire
Work Type
Persistent Link


Level 1, Room 1220, European Art, 19th–20th century, Collection of Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906
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Physical Descriptions

Oil on board
32.4 x 40.7 cm (12 3/4 x 16 in.)
framed: 42.5 x 53 x 7 cm (16 3/4 x 20 7/8 x 2 3/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.l.: with monogram, HTL 1881
  • inscription: Bottom edge of frame (back), in black marker: 25
  • inscription: Verso, in graphite on white perforated paper: MKC / 394D
  • inscription: Verso, handwritten in blue pencil on white paper: TOULOUSE / LAUTREC


Recorded Ownership History
Comtesse Alphonse de Toulouse-Lautrec; to M Séré de Rivières, sold; [through Knoedler Galleries, New York]; to Maurice Wertheim (1937-1951), bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1951.

Séré de Rivières was a cousin of the artist.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest from the Collection of Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art


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Publication History

  • Maurice Joyant, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1864-1901 (Paris, France, 1926), vol. I, pp. 52 and 254
  • XXIIIe exposition des artistes méridionaux, exh. cat., Palais des Arts (Toulouse, France, 1932), no. 2
  • Toulouse-Lautrec, paintings, drawings, posters; loan exhibition for the benefit of the Musée d'Albi, France, exh. cat., Spiral Press (New York, NY, 1937), no. 2
  • Jacques Lassaigne, Toulouse-Lautrec, Hyperion Press (London, England and New York, NY, 1939), p. 39
  • J. Rinaldini, Toulouse-Lautrec (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1942), no. 5, p 82, repr. in b/w fig. D
  • Edward Alden Jewell, French Impressionists and Their Contemporaries in American Collections, Hyperion Press (New York, NY, 1944), repr. p. 125
  • Alfred M. Frankfurter, "Today's Collectors: Modern Milestones", Art News (June 1946), vol. XLV, no. 4, p. 64; repr. in b/w p. 30
  • French Painting since 1870, lent by Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1946), p. 20, repr. p. 21
  • Six Masters of Post-Impressionism, exh. cat., Wildenstein & Company (New York, NY, 1948), no. 25
  • La Peinture Française Depuis 1870: Collection Maurice Wertheim, exh. cat., Tom Taylor (Québec, Canada, 1949), no. 9, pp. 25-26
  • [Unidentified article], Life [magazine] (May 15 1950), repr. in color
  • "19th and 20th Century Art", Think (September 1952), pp. 18-19, 32, repr.
  • M. G. Dortu, Toulouse-Lautrec, Editions du Chêne (Paris, France, 1952), p. 5
  • Jacques Lassaigne, Lautrec, Skira (Geneva, Switzerland, 1953), p. 22
  • The Maurice Wertheim Catalogue: Modern French Art-- Monet to Picasso, exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh, NC, 1960), p. 54, repr. p. 55
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection: Manet to Picasso, exh. cat., The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Houston, TX, 1962), p. 50, pl. 20
  • G. Caproni and G. M. Sugana, L'Opera Completa di Toulouse-Lautrec (Milan, Italy, 1969), no. 65
  • Philippe Huisman and M. G. Dortu, Gli Impressionisti: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Fratelli Fabbri Editori (Milan, Italy, 1971), repr. in b/w p. 76
  • M. G. Dortu, Toulouse-Lautrec et son oeuvre (New York, NY, 1971), vol. II, no. P99, p. 49, repr. in b/w
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection, exh. cat., Maine State Museum (Augusta, ME, 1972), no. 36
  • John Coolidge, "Maurice and Cecile Wertheim", Fogg Art Museum Newsletter, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, March 1975), repr. p. 6
  • Vivien Raynor, "Art: Impressionist Show at the I.B.M. Gallery" [review], The New York Times (New York, NY, April 26, 1985), p. C24
  • G. Freisinger, "Second Impressions", Harvard Magazine (Cambridge, MA, May 1985 - June 1985), p. 39
  • Sandy Easterbrook, "Technical Examination and Comparison of Two Toulouse-Lautrec Paintings in the Wertheim Collection of the Fogg Art Museum" (thesis (certificate in conservation), Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, 1985), Unpublished, pp. 1-28 passim
  • John O'Brian, Degas to Matisse: the Maurice Wertheim Collection, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. and Fogg Art Museum (New York, NY and Cambridge, MA, 1988), no. 15, pp. 78-80; repr. in color p. 79
  • Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 131; repr. as no. 389
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection and Selected Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings and Drawings in the Fogg Art Museum, exh. cat., Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1990), repr. in color no. 21, p. 73
  • Elizabeth M. Rudy, "Researching the Wertheim Collection at the Harvard Art Museums", Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals (Summer 2014), Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 301-6
  • Oliver Wunsch, "Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's 'Black countess' Identified", The Burlington Magazine (October 2019), Vol. 161, No. 1399, pp. 840-845, pp. 840-845, repr. p. 841 as fig. 1
  • Martin Bailey, "Revealed: The Story of "the Black Countess'", The Art Newspaper (March 2024), no. 365, p. 12, repr.; also repr. p. 4

Exhibition History

  • Toulouse-Lautrec, Knoedler & Co. Inc., New York, 11/15/1937 - 12/11/1937
  • French Painting since 1870 lent by Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/01/1946 - 09/07/1946; National Gallery of Art, Washington, 07/01/1953 - 09/13/1953
  • Six Masters of Post-Impressionism, Wildenstein Gallery, New York, New York, 04/08/1948 - 05/08/1948
  • La Peinture Française depuis 1870, Musée de la Province de Quebec, 07/12/1949 - 08/07/1949
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 07/01/1952 - 09/14/1952
  • French Paintings Since 1870 from the Maurice Wertheim Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 06/01/1953 - 09/30/1953
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 06/15/1957 - 09/15/1957
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, 06/10/1958 - 08/31/1958
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection: Modern French Art--Monet to Picasso, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, 06/17/1960 - 09/04/1960
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection: Manet to Picasso, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, 06/13/1962 - 09/02/1962
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, 06/20/1963 - 09/01/1963
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, 06/24/1965 - 09/07/1965
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, 09/03/1968 - 09/22/1968
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Montgomery Museum of Art, Montgomery, 06/01/1971 - 09/30/1971
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Maine State Museum, Augusta, 06/01/1972 - 09/01/1972
  • Manet to Matisse: The Maurice Wertheim Collection, IBM Gallery of Science and Art, New York, 04/09/1985 - 05/25/1985
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection and Selected Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings and Drawings in the Fogg Art Museum, Isetan Department Store, Tokyo, 03/01/1990 - 04/10/1990; Yamaguchi Prefectural Museum of Art, 04/14/1990 - 05/13/1990
  • Re-View: S427 Impressionist & Postimpressionist Art, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/02/2008 - 06/18/2011
  • 32Q: 1220 Wertheim, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

  • Google Art Project

Related Works

Verification Level

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