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Henri De Toulouse Lautrec
Henri De Toulouse Lautrec
Henri De Toulouse Lautrec
(1864-1901 )
French postimpressionist painter, lithographer, and illustrator, who documented the bohemian nightlife of late-19th-century Paris.

Toulouse Lautrec, Henri de

Toulouse-Lautrec was born in Albi into one of the oldest aristocratic families. He broke both legs as an adolescent, and because of a congenital calcium deficiency, they remained stunted for the rest of his life. During his convalescence, his mother encouraged him to paint. He subsequently studied with French academic painters L. J. F. Bonnat and Fernand Cormon.

Toulouse-Lautrec frequented the Moulin Rouge and other cabarets of the Montmartre district of Paris, where his wit attracted a large group of artists and intellectuals, including Irish author Oscar Wilde, Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, and French performer Yvette Guilbert. He also frequented the theater, the circus, and Parisian brothels. Toulouse-Lautrec preserved his impressions of these places and their celebrities in portraits and sketches of striking originality and power. Outstanding examples are La Goulou Entering the Moulin Rouge (1892, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec, Albi), Jane Avril Entering the Moulin Rouge (1892, Courtauld Gallery, London), and Au salon de la rue des Moulins (1894, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec). His alcoholic dissipation, however, eventually brought on a paralytic stroke, to which he succumbed at Malromé, one of his family's estates.

Toulouse-Lautrec, many of whose works are in the museum that bears his name in Albi, was a prolific creator. His oeuvre includes great numbers of paintings, drawings, etchings, lithographs, and posters, as well as illustrations for various contemporary newspapers. He incorporated into his own highly individual method elements of the styles of various contemporary artists, especially French painters Edgar Degas and Paul Gauguin. Japanese art, then coming into vogue in Paris, influenced his use of sharp delineation, asymmetric composition, oblique angles, and flat areas of color. His work inspired van Gogh, Georges Seurat, and Georges Rouault.


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