Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec images and biography
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Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
(1864-1901)

See also: Juxtapositions: Toulouse-Lautrec's "Aristide Bruant"; Art Nouveau

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Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was born on November 24, 1864, in southern France. Son and heir of Comte Alphonse-Charles de Toulouse, he was the last in the line of an aristocratic family that dated back a thousand years. Today, the family estate houses the Musée Toulouse-Lautrec. As a child, Henri was weak and often sick. But by the time he was ten years old he had begun to draw and paint.

At age twelve Toulouse-Lautrec broke his left leg and at fourteen his right leg. The bones did not heal properly, and his legs ceased to grow. He reached maturity with a body trunk of normal size but with abnormally short legs. He was only 4 1/2 feet (1.5 meters) tall.

Deprived of the physical life that a normal body would have permitted, Toulouse-Lautrec lived completely for his art. He dwelt in the Montmartre section of Paris, the center of the cabaret entertainment and bohemian life that he loved to depict in his work. Dance halls and nightclubs, racetracks, prostitutes - all these were memorialized on canvas or made into lithographs.

Toulouse-Lautrec was very much an active part of this community. He would sit at a crowded nightclub table, laughing and drinking, meanwhile making swift sketches. The next morning in his studio he would expand the sketches into brightly colored paintings.

In order to join in the Montmartre life - as well as to fortify himself against the crowd's ridicule of his appearance - Toulouse-Lautrec began to drink heavily. By the 1890s the drinking was affecting his health. He was confined first to a sanatorium and then to his mother's care at home, but he could not stay away from alcohol. Toulouse-Lautrec died on September 9, 1901, at the family chateau of Malrome.

Further reading on Toulouse-Lautrec:

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Toulouse-Lautrec Images

1886-87 "A Montrouge" - Rosa La Rouge
1891 Moulin Rouge: La Goulue (lithograph)
c. 1891 Justine Dieuhl
1892 Ambassadeurs: Aristide Bruant
1892 At the Moulin Rouge: Two Women Waltzing
1892 La Goulue Arriving at the Moulin Rouge with Two Women
1894 Rue des Moulins: The Medical Inspection
1894 The Two Girlfriends
1894 Two Half-Naked Women Seen from behind in the Rue des Moulins Brothel
1894 Woman Pulling up her Stocking
1894 Yvette Guilbert Greeting the Audience
1896 Alone
1896 The Toilette




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