Moulin Rouge La Goulue (1891) by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Moulin Rouge La Goulue - Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - 1891

Artwork Information

TitleMoulin Rouge La Goulue
ArtistHenri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Dimensions191 x 117 cm
Art MovementArt Nouveau (Modern)

About Moulin Rouge La Goulue

The artwork titled “Moulin Rouge La Goulue” is a renowned poster created by the artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in the year 1891. Exemplifying the Art Nouveau movement, which was known for its modern style, the poster measures 191 by 117 centimeters. This piece was designed to serve as an advertisement and captures the vibrant essence of the famous Parisian dance hall, Moulin Rouge.

In the artwork, Toulouse-Lautrec employs bold outlines, flat areas of color, and integrates lettering with imagery—a hallmark of good poster design during that period. Dominating the top half of the poster are the words “MOULIN ROUGE” in striking red letters against a yellow background, accompanied by “LA GOULUE” and additional text reading “BAL TOUS LES SOIRS,” suggesting that the dance hall hosted dances every evening.

At the forefront of the artwork is a dancer captured in mid-kick, with her dress billowing wildly, revealing her red stockings. This central figure is La Goulue, a celebrated cancan dancer and a star at Moulin Rouge. She is shown from behind, with her head turned to the side, allowing a glimpse of her profile. Behind La Goulue, the silhouette of her dance partner, Valentin le Désossé, is featured along with the enthusiastic shadows of the audience, their raised arms and festive hats contributing to the jubilant atmosphere of the scene.

Toulouse-Lautrec’s use of simplified forms and a limited color palette, typical of the lithographic process of the time, creates a dramatic and immediate visual impact. The contrast between the lively figures and silhouettes imbues the artwork with energy and movement, which effectively communicated the spirit of the Moulin Rouge to passers-by and potential patrons. The distinctive style of the artist is also visible in his signage, placed within the composition as “H. Toulouse.”

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