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Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Born Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa
24 November 1864
"Albi, "Tarn, "Second French Empire
Died 9 September 1901(1901-09-09) (aged 36)
"Saint-André-du-Bois, France
Resting place Cimetière de Verdelais
Nationality French
Education "René Princeteau, "Fernand Cormon
Known for Painting, printmaking, drawing, draughting, illustration
Notable work "At the Moulin Rouge
Movement "Post-Impressionism, "Art Nouveau

Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa (24 November 1864 – 9 September 1901), also known as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French: "[ɑ̃ʁi də tuluz lotʁɛk]), was a French "painter, "printmaker, "draughtsman, "caricaturist, and "illustrator whose immersion in the colourful and theatrical life of Paris in the late 19th century allowed him to produce a collection of enticing, elegant, and provocative images of the modern, sometimes decadent, affairs of those times. Toulouse-Lautrec is among the best-known painters of the "Post-Impressionist period, with "Cézanne, "Van Gogh, and "Gauguin. In a 2005 auction at "Christie's auction house, "La Blanchisseuse, his early painting of a young laundress, sold for US$22.4 million and set a new record for the artist for a price at auction.[1]


Early life[edit]

Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa was born at the Hôtel du Bosc in "Albi, "Tarn, in the "Midi-Pyrénées region of France, the firstborn child of Alphonse Charles "Comte de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa (1838–1913)[2] and his wife Adèle Zoë Tapié de Celeyran (1841–1930).[3] The last part of his name means he was a member of an "aristocratic family (descendants of the "Counts of Toulouse and "Odet de Foix, Vicomte de Lautrec and the "Viscounts of "Montfa, a village and commune of the Tarn department of southern France, close to the cities of "Castres and "Toulouse). His younger brother was born in 1867, but died the following year. If he had outlived his father, Henri would have succeeded to the family "title of "Comte.

After the death of his brother, Henri's parents separated and a nanny eventually took care of him.[4] At the age of eight, Henri went to live with his mother in Paris where he drew sketches and caricatures in his exercise workbooks. The family quickly realized that Henri's talents lay in drawing and painting. A friend of his father, "René Princeteau, visited sometimes to give informal lessons. Some of Henri's early paintings are of horses, a speciality of Princeteau, and a subject Lautrec revisited in his "Circus Paintings".[4][5]

In 1875, Toulouse-Lautrec returned to Albi because his mother had concerns about his health. He took thermal baths at "Amélie-les-Bains and his mother consulted doctors in the hope of finding a way to improve her son's growth and development.[4]

Disability and health problems[edit]

Toulouse-Lautrec's parents, the "Comte and Comtesse, were first cousins (his grandmothers were sisters),[4] and he suffered from "congenital health conditions sometimes attributed to a family history of "inbreeding.[6]

At age 13, Toulouse-Lautrec fractured his right "femur. At age 14, he fractured his left.[7] The breaks did not heal properly. Modern physicians attribute this to an unknown "genetic disorder, possibly "pycnodysostosis (sometimes known as Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome),[8] or a variant disorder along the lines of "osteopetrosis, "achondroplasia, or "osteogenesis imperfecta.[9] "Rickets aggravated by "praecox virilism has also been suggested. Afterwards, his legs ceased to grow, so that as an adult he was extremely short (1.42 m or 4 ft 8 in).[10] He developed an adult-sized torso, while retaining his child-sized legs.[11] Additionally, he is reported to have had "hypertrophied genitals.[12]

Physically unable to participate in many activities enjoyed by males his age, Toulouse-Lautrec immersed himself in art. He became an important "Post-Impressionist painter, "art nouveau illustrator, and "lithographer, and, through his works, recorded many details of the late-19th-century "bohemian lifestyle in Paris. Toulouse-Lautrec contributed a number of illustrations to the magazine "Le Rire during the mid-1890s.[13]

After initially failing college entrance exams, he passed his second attempt and completed his studies.


The Marble Polisher, 1882–87, "Princeton University Art Museum, probably painted while a student of Fernand Cormon, demonstrating his classical training.[14]

During a stay in "Nice, France, his progress in painting and drawing impressed Princeteau, who persuaded Toulouse-Lautrec's parents to let him return to Paris and study under the acclaimed portrait painter "Léon Bonnat. Toulouse-Lautrec's mother had high ambitions and, with the aim of her son becoming a fashionable and respected painter, used their family's influence to get him into Bonnat's studio.[4] He was drawn to "Montmartre, the area of Paris famous for its bohemian lifestyle and the haunt of artists, writers, and philosophers. Studying with Bonnat placed Toulouse-Lautrec in the heart of Montmartre, an area he rarely left over the next 20 years.

After Bonnat took a new job, Toulouse-Lautrec moved to the studio of "Fernand Cormon in 1882 and studied for a further five years and established the group of friends he kept for the rest of his life. At this time he met "Émile Bernard and "Vincent van Gogh. Cormon, whose instruction was more relaxed than Bonnat's, allowed his pupils to roam Paris, looking for subjects to paint. During this period, Toulouse-Lautrec had his first encounter with a prostitute (reputedly sponsored by his friends), which led him to paint his first painting of a prostitute in Montmartre, a woman rumoured to be Marie-Charlet.[4]

""A thin woman's back and hair are prominent. She faces away from the viewer and has on only a towel and socks.
La Toilette, oil on board, 1896

With his studies finished, in 1887 he participated in an exposition in Toulouse using the pseudonym "Tréclau", the "verlan of the family name 'Lautrec'. He later exhibited in Paris with Van Gogh and "Louis Anquetin.[4] The Belgian critic "Octave Maus invited him to present eleven pieces at the Vingt (the Twenties) exhibition in Brussels in February. Van Gogh's brother "Theo bought Poudre de Riz (Rice Powder) for 150 francs for the "Goupil & Cie gallery.

From 1889 until 1894, Toulouse-Lautrec took part in the "Independent Artists' Salon ("French: Société des Artistes Indépendants) on a regular basis. He made several landscapes of Montmartre.[4] Tucked deep into Montmartre in the garden of Monsieur Pere Foret, Toulouse-Lautrec executed a series of pleasant "plein-air paintings of Carmen Gaudin, the same red-headed model who appears in The Laundress (1888).

When the "Moulin Rouge cabaret opened, Toulouse-Lautrec was commissioned to produce a series of posters. His mother had left Paris and, though he had a regular income from his family, making posters offered him a living of his own. Other artists looked down on the work, but he ignored them.[15] The cabaret reserved a seat for him and displayed his paintings.[16] Among the well-known works that he painted for the Moulin Rouge and other Parisian nightclubs are depictions of the singer "Yvette Guilbert; the dancer Louise Weber, better known as the outrageous "La Goulue (The Glutton) who created the "French Can-Can; and the much more subtle dancer "Jane Avril.


Woman at the Tub from the Portfolio Elles (1896)

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's family were "Anglophiles,[17] and though he was not as fluent as he pretended to be, he spoke English well enough.[15] He travelled to London where he was commissioned by the J. & E. Bella company to make a poster advertising their confetti (which was banned after the 1892 "Mardi Gras)[18] and the bicycle advert La Chaîne Simpson.[19]

While in London, he met and befriended "Oscar Wilde.[15] When Wilde faced imprisonment in Britain, Toulouse-Lautrec became a very vocal supporter of him and his portrait of Oscar Wilde was painted the same year as Wilde's trial.[15][20]

Alcoholism and prostitution[edit]

La Promeneuse by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Oil on cardboard, dated 1892

Toulouse-Lautrec was mocked for his short stature and physical appearance, which led him to drown his sorrows in alcohol.[21]

He initially only drank beer and wine, but his tastes expanded into "hard liquor, namely "absinthe.[22] The cocktail, "Earthquake "(Tremblement de Terre), is attributed to Toulouse-Lautrec: a potent mixture containing half absinthe and half "cognac in a wine goblet.[23] To ensure he was never without alcohol, he hollowed out his cane (which he needed to walk due to his underdeveloped legs) and filled it with liquor.[15][24]

In addition to his growing alcoholism, Toulouse-Lautrec also frequented "prostitutes.[22] He was fascinated by their lifestyle and the lifestyle of the "urban underclass" and incorporated those characters into his paintings.[25] Fellow painter "Édouard Vuillard later said that while Toulouse-Lautrec did engage in sex with prostitutes, "the real reasons for his behavior were moral ones ... Lautrec was too proud to submit to his lot, as a physical freak, an aristocrat cut off from his kind by his grotesque appearance. He found an affinity between his own condition and the moral penury of the prostitute."[26]

Cooking skills[edit]

A fine and hospitable cook, Toulouse-Lautrec built up a collection of favourite recipes – some original, some adapted – which would be posthumously published by his friend and dealer Maurice Joyant as L'Art de la Cuisine.[27] The book was republished in English translation in 1966 as The Art of Cuisine[28] – a tribute to his inventive (and wide-ranging) cooking.


Toulouse-Lautrec's grave in "Verdelais

By February 1899, Toulouse-Lautrec's "alcoholism began to take its toll and he collapsed due to exhaustion and the effects of alcoholism. His family had him committed to "Folie Saint-James, a "sanatorium in "Neuilly for three months.[29] While he was committed, he drew 39 circus portraits. After his release, he returned to the Paris studio for a time and then traveled throughout France.[30] His physical and mental health began to decline rapidly due to alcoholism and "syphilis, which he reportedly contracted from Rosa La Rouge, a prostitute who was the subject of several of his paintings.[31]

On 9 September 1901, at the age of 36, he died from complications due to alcoholism and syphilis at his mother's estate, "Château Malromé in "Saint-André-du-Bois. He is buried in Cimetière de "Verdelais, "Gironde, a few kilometres from the estate.[31][32] His last words reportedly were "Le vieux con!" ("the old fool"), his goodbye to his father,[15] though another version has been suggested, in which he used the word "hallali", a term used by huntsmen at the moment the hounds kill their prey: "Je savais, Papa, que vous ne manqueriez pas l'hallali" ("I knew, papa, that you wouldn't miss the death.").[33]

After Toulouse-Lautrec's death, his mother, Adèle "Comtesse de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa, and his art dealer, Maurice Joyant, continued promoting his artwork. His mother contributed funds for a museum to be created in "Albi, his birthplace, to show his works. This "Musée Toulouse-Lautrec owns the largest collection of his works.


Self-portrait in the crowd, "At the Moulin Rouge, 1892, "Art Institute of Chicago

In his less-than-20-year career, Toulouse-Lautrec created:

His debt to the "Impressionists, particularly the more figurative painters like "Manet and "Degas, is apparent, for within his works, one can draw parallels to the detached barmaid at "A Bar at the Folies-Bergère by Manet and the behind-the-scenes ballet dancers of Degas. His style was also influenced by the classical "Japanese woodprints which became popular in art circles in Paris.[34]

He excelled at depicting people in their working environments, with the colour and movement of the gaudy nightlife present but the glamour stripped away. He was a master at painting crowd scenes where each figure was highly individualized. At the time they were painted, the individual figures in his larger paintings could be identified by silhouette alone, and the names of many of these characters have been recorded.["citation needed] His treatment of his subject matter, whether as portraits, in scenes of Parisian nightlife, or as intimate studies, has been described as alternately "sympathetic" and "dispassionate".["citation needed]

Toulouse-Lautrec's skilled depiction of people relied on his painterly style, which is highly "linear and emphasizes "contour. He often applied paint in long, thin brushstrokes which would leave much of the board underneath showing through. Many of his works may be best described as "drawings in coloured paint".["citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]



Selected works[edit]

See also "Category:Paintings by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.






  1. ^ Berwick, Carly (2 November 2005). "Toulouse-Lautrec Drives Big Night at Christie's". Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "count-alphonse-charles-de-toulouse-lautrec-monfa-1838-1913". 
  3. ^ "Histoire et généalogie de la famille de Toulouse-Lautrec Montfa et de ses alliances". Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Author Unknown, "Toulouse-Lautrec" – published Grange Books. "ISBN "1-84013-658-8 Bookfinder – Toulouse Lautrec
  5. ^ ArT Blog : Toulouse-Lautrec at the Circus: The "Horse and Performer" Drawings Archived 28 July 2009 at the "Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Toulouse-Lautrec, H., Natanson, T., & Frankfurter, A. M. (1950). Toulouse-Lautrec: the man. N.p. p. 120. "OCLC 38609256
  7. ^ "Why Lautrec was a giant". The Times. UK. 10 December 2006. Retrieved 8 December 2007. 
  8. ^ a b Angier, Natalie (6 June 1995). "What Ailed Toulouse-Lautrec? Scientists Zero In on a Key Gene". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 December 2007. 
  9. ^ "Noble figure". The Guardian. UK. 20 November 2004. Retrieved 8 December 2007. 
  10. ^ "The Shrinking of José Ferrer". Life. Time Inc. 33 (13): 51. 29 September 1952. "ISSN 0024-3019. 
  11. ^ ""Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec". AMEA – World Museum of Erotic Art". 22 February 1999. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  12. ^ Ayto, John; Crofton, Ian (2006). Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 747. "ISBN "0-304-36809-1. 
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ "The Marble Polisher (y1992-16)". Princeton University Art Museum. Princeton University. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f "Toulouse Lautrec: The Full Story". UK: Channel 4. Retrieved 1 October 2010. 
  16. ^ "Blake Linton Wilfong ''Hooker Heroes''". Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  17. ^ Smith, Joan (10 July 1994). "Book Review/ Short and not sweet: Toulouse-Lautrec: A Life - Julia Frey: Weidenfeld, pounds 25". Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  18. ^ Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri de; Donson, Theodore B. (1982). Great Lithographs by Toulouse-Lautrec. Griepp, Marvel M. Courier Corporation. p. XII. "ISBN "0-486-24359-1. 
  19. ^ Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1896). "La Chaîne Simpson". San Diego Museum Of Art. Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  20. ^ "'Oscar Wilde' 1895 by Toulouse-Lautrec". Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  21. ^ "Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Biography". Archived from the original on 21 June 2010. 
  22. ^ a b Wittels, Betina; Hermesch, Robert (2008). Breaux, T. A., ed. Absinthe, Sip of Seduction: A Contemporary Guide. Fulcrum Publishing. p. 35. "ISBN "1-933-10821-5. 
  23. ^ "Absinthe Service and Historic Cocktails". Archived from the original on 23 October 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2007. 
  24. ^ Gately, Iain (2008). Drink, A Cultural History of Alcohol. Gotham books. p. 338. "ISBN "978-1-592-40303-5. 
  25. ^ Powell, John; Blakeley, Derek W.; Powell, Tessa, eds. (2001). Biographical Dictionary of Literary Influences: The Nineteenth Century, 1800-1914. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 417. "ISBN "0-313-30422-X. 
  26. ^ (Toulouse-Lautrec, Donson 1982, p. XIV)
  27. ^ Toulouse-Lautrec
  28. ^ J. Grigson, Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book (1984) p. 422
  29. ^ Clair, Jean, ed. (2004). The Great Parade: Portrait of the Artist as Clown. Galeries nationales du Grand Palais (France), National Gallery of Canada. Yale University Press. p. 170. "ISBN "0-300-10375-1. 
  30. ^ (Toulouse-Lautrec, Donson 1982, p. V)
  31. ^ a b "Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec Biography". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  32. ^ Bennett, Lennie (16 November 2003). "More than art's poster boy". St. Petersburg, Florida: Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  33. ^ "". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  34. ^ "Berger, Klaus. (1992) Japonisme in Western Painting from Whistler to Matisse. Translated by David Britt. Cambridge: "Cambridge University Press. p. 199. "ISBN "9780521373210
  35. ^ Variety; Cowie, Peter (1999). Variety, ed. The Variety Insider. Penguin Group USA. p. 173. "ISBN "0-399-52524-6. 
  36. ^ "Moulin Rouge!" "IMDb
  37. ^ [2] "IMDb

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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