by Joan M. Rehlin
Another of our mini art history posts...
Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa, better known as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, was a French artist who, along with Cézanne, Van Gogh, and Gauguin, is considered a prominent Post-Impressionist. Although he lived only 36 years, Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901) created a prodigious collection of elegant, avant-garde images — 700+ canvas paintings, 350+ prints and posters, 5,000+ drawings, and 250+ watercolors — depicting life during the theatrical and decadent fin de siècle in Paris.
Born into an aristocratic family, Toulouse-Lautrec suffered from health issues that were attributed to his parents also being first cousins. When his physical issues limited other activities, he turned his focus almost entirely to creating art and, at 8 years old, began drawing sketches and caricatures. He later received art training from several respected artists / instructors and, beginning in 1887, exhibited his works in a variety of venues both in and outside of Paris. When the Moulin Rouge opened in 1889, he was commissioned to create a series of posters and also had a seat reserved for him in the famous cabaret. In the mid-1890s, he contributed illustrations to the satirical Le Rire magazine. Toulouse-Lautrec shared a common label of social misfit with marginalized populations, and is attributed with instilling humanity in his realistic art that portrays them. He is quoted as stating, “Everywhere and always ugliness has its beautiful aspects; it is thrilling to discover them where nobody else has noticed them.”
Wanting to escape his physical and emotional pain, Toulouse-Lautrec reportedly filled his hollowed-out cane with liquor, never to be without something strong to drink. Unfortunately, his prolific artistic life ended prematurely due to alcoholism and syphilis. Included among his famous works is At the Moulin Rouge, The Dance (shown here) which is currently displayed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
At the Moulin Rouge, The Dance, oil on canvas, 1890, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Welcome to our Art Blog where we occasionally present topics of interest in the fine art world, including featuring artists other than Jim Rehlin. Some of the artwork has been created by long-departed but well-known greats; some, by compelling contemporary artists. All will be pieces we find worthwhile to share with you. If you like any of these, consider sharing the posts forward to your own blogs and other social media.