The Fascinating Toulouse-Lautrec

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A work of art is sufficient onto itself but sometimes the back story is so intriguing as to add additional spice and flavor to the work. Such is the case of the French artist Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, a fascinating man with fascinating friends, living in a fascinating place during fascinating times.


Famous for his connection to the Moulin Rouge and the Can-Can, 

moulin rougeLautrec’s persona continues to appear in popular culture: such as the films Moulin Rouge 1952, Revenge of the Pink Panther 1978, Moulin Rouge, the musical 2001.

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lautrec 3Easily recognized by his short stature, caused by an illness that left him with child-size legs, Lautrec was an aristocrat from a wealthy           French family who chose to live in bohemian Montmartre most of his adult life.

Lautrec painted a variety of subjects but is probably best known forjane avril his paintings and posters of cabaret scenes, dancers, entertainers, and prostitutes. His work was often considered scandalous and controversial.


lautrec poster 2lautrec poster

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His friends included Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, and many impressionist and post-impressionist painters. Lautrec died in 1901 at age 36 from complications of alcoholism and syphilis.

In 2005, his painting of a laundress, La blanchisseuse ,

lautrec 5                                           sold for over 22 million dollars.

Reproductions of his art can be found in books, on-line, and on calendars, postcards, posters, and fine art prints.  

I chose Lautrec as the first artist featured in creating inexpensive wall art because I just finished reading (again) Moulin Rouge by Pierre La Mure, (1950);  a biographical novel of Lautrec that gives a great feeling for what it would have been like living in Montmartre at the turn of the century. Available on Amazon.

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Lautrec’s work is not always “pretty” but much of it has color, movement, energy, and vibrancy…and a great back story.

To view all of Lautrec’s work click here to visit the toulouse-lautrec-foundation site


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