Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s “Moulin Rouge: La Goulue” is a color lithograph poster that advertised the Moulin Rouge dance hall in 1891. It features two famous dancers, La Goulue and “No-Bones” Valentin, and is recognized as one of the artist’s most recognizable advertisements.
La Goulue, whose real name was Louise Weber, was a star performer known for her can-can dancing and appetite. The poster helped to propel both her and the Moulin Rouge to fame. This was also Toulouse-Lautrec’s first commissioned poster and won him increasing recognition as an artist.
The image captures both the vibrant nightlife of Montmartre and the unique personalities of its performers. The bright swaths of color underscore the revelry depicted within, while also symbolizing how these performers were larger-than-life figures in their own right.
“Moulin Rouge: La Goulue” remains a triumph in elevating advertising to art status, making it an important piece within Art Nouveau movement history. Today, it is regarded as one of Toulouse-Lautrec’s most important works and serves as a testament to his talent in capturing the essence of everyday urban life through art.