HENRI de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC
Toulouse-Lautrec is considered one of the pillars holding up the rest of modern art. Without him, you'd have no Picasso, Warhol, Diane Arbus or Chuck Close. Toulouse-Lautrec's celebration of consumer culture and iconic popular advertisements paved the way for Pop Art.
Toulouse-Lautrec is the artist who designed the Moulin Rouge's legendary posters, He was an aristocrat, dwarf, and party animal who invented a cocktail called the Earthquake (half absinthe, half cognac). His favorite things were dressing up (geisha girl and clown get-ups were among his more memorable party outfits) and frequenting Parisian brothels, where he was a V.I.P. His paintings, drawings and of course his famous posters preserve the swirl of energy, mix of classes and cultures, and the highs and lows of urban life in nineteenth-century Paris.
Toulouse-Lautrec's career coincided with the expansion of the urban middle class -- people with money to spend on entertainment, but who weren't part of high society. His work inspired the exaggerated outlines, languid, organic forms and script writing that appeared in the Art Nouveau movement.
TOULOUSE-LAUTREC INFLUENCED BY
Degas, Bonnard, Goya, Ingres
Despite the celebrated freedom and individualism of modern art, few artists of any period have been able to overcome social prejudice. While rubbing elbows with the riffraff was an acceptable, even encouraged rite-of- passage later among avant-garde artists, earlier artists like Degas, Manet and Van Gogh maintained an aloofness from working-class subjects.
Perhaps because he had always felt like an outsider, Toulouse-Lautrec developed a circle of friends on the margins of society to whom he was exceedingly generous; they looked out for him, too. Dancers, crooners, and circus performers that lived and worked in the bohemian Montmartre neighborhood of Paris became his friends.
Toulouse-Lautrec was able to develop true friendships that transcended the rigid class structure of nineteenth-century Paris. His brilliant insights into the glitter and desperation of Paris nightlife, a study in contrasts, were not only more brilliant but more humane than any that had come before him, setting the bar high for future artists.
Art Through the Ages by Gardner
Art History by Stokstad
Annotated Mona Lisa by Strickland