Toulouse Lautrec

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color lithograph, 75" x 46"

color lithograph, 75" x 46"

 

Henri de Toulouse Lautrec

 

from book: Scenes of the Night

born into an aristocratic family in Albi

his mother & father were first cousins, probably related to his dwarfism- weak & sickly from birth- minor falls in early life resulting in 2 broken bones that kept him from growing to full height

strained relationship with father, who was an enthusiast of sports and falconry, which Henri could not participate in bc of his handicap- father was amateur painter and draftsman

settled and worked at Montmarte, France

Montmarte:  Moulin Rouge, Mirliton, and Moulid de la Galette, Chat Noir

 

The Players: 

Aristide Braunt- singer/composer- opened cabaret Mirliton on the site of the Chat Noir founded by Roudolphe Salis that moved to larger premises

performers of Mirliton included: Nini the Tart, Rosa the Red

Braunt threatened to not perform at Theatre des Ambassadeurs if owner Pierre Ducarre did not accept Lautrec’s poster concept for show- this portrait/poster gained recognition for poster as genuine art form

middle class & aristocratic audience- thrilled to be in low company

famous painting (large scale) “Chilperic”  featured dancer Marcelle Lender

Jane Avril (Jane Avril and Divan Japonais)- intimate w in 1890; tremendous energy- nicknamed 

 

stage lighting – cast shadows of actors upward, exaggerating facial features (caricature), gestures & postures, silhouettes stood out

 

1890- peak of his career: finest of his paintings produced, best known posters, & took up lithography

 

Moulin Rouge: 1st poster done by Jules Cheret (called “The Tiepolo of double colombier” [old paper format used for papers] by critic Felix Feneon)- featured windmill “jaunty woman miller”

Lautrec commissioned to do 2nd poster by MR owner Charles Zidler. TL had different approach than Cheret- showed one of stars La Goulue dancing w audience in silhouette (inspired by shadowpuppets & Japanese Prints) & partially-silhoutted portrait of Valentin le Desosse {Lawyers son, passion for dancing} in foreground

posters all over Paris & snatched up by collectors- offensive to the Academie bc of top 


The Academie vs. Cafe Life

critic Felix Feneon in anarchist magazine Le Pere Peinard on Lautrec’s 1st Moulin Rouge Poster:

urged readers to tear the finest posters off the walls of Paris and thus “get hold of paintings with a bit more zip than the dismal daubs that look as if they’re done in licorice juice that so delight the cognoscenti arseholes.”

 

First Prints:

photography- art lovers became interested in original artists prints as opposed to engraved reproductions of paintings

Lautrec built rep for printmaking – “boldness matched by technical mastery”

 

Japanese Influence:

Kitagawa Utamaro 1753-1806), Shunsho Katsukawa (1726-92), Hokusai Katsushika (1760 – 1849)

 

(to be continued)
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