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Henri de Touleuse Lautrec

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Mar 10, 2009
by: Jillian

In my french class, we recently watched a very interesting video about Henri de Touleuse Lautrec.  He had a very interesting life as an artist.

a leading postimpressionist artist whose paintings, lithography, and posters contributed much to the development of Art Nouveau in the 1890s.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, French Painter

He was born on November 24, 1864 in Albi, France.  When he was 14 he broke his right leg and shortly after, his left.  He had weak bones and his legs never grew in porportion with the rest of his body.  When he was young, his father and grandfather were incredible draftsmen and he picked up this skill.  Henri de Touleuse Lautrec was a post impressionist painter and painted graphic works.  Henri de Touleuse Lautrec drew a lot of horses when he was young because his father hunted and rode horses.  In 1882, Henri de Touleuse Lautrec moved to Paris to learn how to paint.  His works had a strong sense of movement.  He admired Edgar Degas and learned much from him.  While in Paris,   Henri de Touleuse Lautrec met VanGough and they became aquaintances.  Soon after moving to Paris, Henri de Touleuse Lautrec moved to nearby Mont Martre.  Mont Martre was the home of the Moulin Rouge and the bohemian life style.  Henri de Touleuse Lautrec became accustomed to the bohemian way of life and as a result became an alcoholic.  He would keep alcohol in his walking cane.  By 1886 Henri de Touleuse Lautrec was an established painter.  In 1889, the Moulin Rouge opened and Henri de Touleuse Lautrec spent many nights there.  He liked it there very much. 

He was also a harsh and witty chronicler of the gaudy nightlife and the sordid elements of late-19th-century Parisian society.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, French Painter

Besides paintings, he created posters, some for the Moulin Rouge.  He had a revolutionary technique and would splater paint with a tooth brush.  He is also known for his free-flowing, expressive lines that make the simple things stand out greatly.  He also used vivid colors that make the images pop.  With all of his work, his aim was to depict the truth, not the ideal.  When he was 30 he got very sick and was sent to the hospital.  While in the hospital he created 40 works depicting the circus.  He loved the circus.  In fact, the circus works showed that he was sane and was finally released from the hospital in the summer of 1901.  Shortly after, Henri de Touleuse Lautrec had a stroke and went to Bordeaux with his mom.  After this, his paintings weren't as lively and seemed depressing.  Perhaps he could tell the end of his life was near.  In September 1901, Henri de Touleuse Lautrec died at the age of 36.  He was an incredible artist.  He was very revolutionary for his time.  He has many famous works including posters from the Moulin Rouge called "At the Moulin Rouge", "La Goulue", "Dance at the Moulin Rouge", "Salon in the Rues des Moulins", and "Aristede Bruand At His Cabaret."  This is just a very small list of his many works. 

Art and alcohol were his only mistresses, and they were mistresses to which he devoted all of his time and energy. He was doing one or both almost every day of his life until he died.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Biography