The artist regularly used sketchbooks as a means to try out different ideas. It therefore became inevitable that some of these would have items on the reverse, once removed from the sketchbook. In this case, there is a female portrait on the other side of this sketch but those selling this artwork would draw much more attention to this double portrait because it contained more detail and features a particularly charming scene of two women out having fun together. Relatively little is known about either of these designs, though they were featured in a catalogue raisonne from 1971 which attempted to collate all known artworks from Toulouse-Lautrec's career. A few may have been added in the years that have passed since, but this was a fairly comprehensive study of his oeuvre and underlines just how prolific he was, considering his physical and mental problems and the short life span that he enjoyed.
The drawing is known to have passed through several different private collections, all based in the US, prior to arriving at auction in 2015. It is not known who acquired the piece on that day, and the sale was a part of a larger auction event known as Impressionist & Modern Art. Items on that day were also offered from other artists such as Honoré Daumier, Max Beckmann and Camille Pissarro, with a large number of drawings being included in the sale. Most of those included were French artists from the late 19th to early 20th century and it would have been a well received auction as French art is particularly popular within the US as well as many other parts of the world. Others items from Toulouse-Lautrec's career was also included in this event.
Items such has In bed, The Kiss, In Salon of Rue des Moulins and At the Circus Fernando, The Rider remain amongst his best known artworks, but drawings such as the one found here still offer something extra that we can learn about his career. Pencil would be his preference as a draughtsman and he practiced considerably, throughout his lifetime. As a figurative artist, this repetition was essential and success within this genre could never be achieved by cutting corners, however naturally talented the artist might be. His oeuvre has been well represented by a number of studies into his work which have produced a number of catalogue raisonnes.