artist you should know / henri de toulouse lautrec

when jarman and i were first dating there was an exhibit at the san diego museum of art all about lautrec, and i forced him to go with me. it was such a great exhibit and had so many of his unfinished works. my favorite part about lautrec is his sketchy quality and rawness, some of his works are even done on cardboard. jarman ordered a lautrec book for me for christmas that year, and i loved that he thought of it. lautrec has been one of my favorite artists since then.


the artist:

lautrec came from an aristocratic family. his mother and father were cousins, and the inbreeding in their family caused health problems for young henri. on top of that, he broke both of his hips, and his legs stopped growing. as an adult, he had a full torso, with children's sized legs. because he could not enjoy most activities that others could, he took to painting. 

lautrec was a post-impressionist who borrowed a lot of his stylistic details from impressionists.  he painted contemporary french society, and showed what lower class life was like during the post-revolutionary era. lautrec moved to the bohemian montemartre area of paris, and painted scenes that were common to the bohemian lifestyle. many of his works were painted in the moulin rouge: he practically lived there. he was very depressed and became and alcoholic, drinking the formidable absinthe that was so fashionable. he died at the young at of 37.



the art: 

the most well-known pieces by lautrec are his posters that he created for the moulin rouge. while many other artists turned down the commission, he gladly accepted because the moulin rouge was like home to him. he also painted many prostitutes and entertainers that he saw at the moulin rouge, some of them were even done on site. 


where you have heard of him: 

i hope that most of you have seen moulin rouge- if not, go watch it right now. lautrec was portrayed as the midget play writer. he goes by toulouse in the movie. he was also featured in midnight in paris, as one of the artists of la belle epoque.


mouline rouge.jpg