The drawing received an impressive sale price of 112,500 USD relatively recently in a Sotheby's auction. This must make it one of the most expensive Toulouse-Lautrec drawings ever, and there are several reasons for this. It is more developed than many of his other works in this medium, with detail carefully crafted and also touches of pen and ink added on top. The content is also charming and connected to the main theme in which this artist was involved, making it a good example of his career more generally. The piece was initially valued at around $80-120,000 and it managed to out do this highly estimate. There remains a strong following for this artist's work and recent exhibitions have reminded the public about his considerable qualities. Those interested in graphic design may also have come across his oeuvre because of its important legacy in building many elements of modern design.
The item was sold at auction in 2000, before then being sold on in 2017. Some items can resurface at auction every now and again for a variety of reasons, such as a sudden increase in interest for an artist, or a desire to cash in and invest money elsewhere. Café-Concert à Montmarte features a male and two female figures enjoying an evening out in Montmartre in Paris. This is a multi layered piece, with very light touches of pencil initially, with then darker touches added as the drawing developed. He signs the piece right at the bottom, just below the table. On the table we find two glasses and the patrons are packed in together, giving an intimate, friendly atmosphere to the artwork. All are dressed elegantly, clearly prepared for their evening out, with smart hats, fans and other accessories.
Toulouse-Lautrec focused on scenes such as this for a period of at least a decade, as he would spend most of his evenings here himself. Cafes and theatres featured regularly, to the point where the artist would befriend many of the stars of stage, and also become well known to the patrons. He was allowed to work without much interference as everyone became comfortable with his presence and felt unthreatened by his small frame. He was welcomed by this community and enjoyed these evenings, which would then inspire a large number of oil paintings and lithograph prints, leading to him producing advertisement posters for a number of shows.