Toulouse-Lautrec- A Elegant Provocating Artist
Henry De Toulouse-Lautrec was born in November 1864 in Southern France. He was last in the line of a long aristocratic bloodline stretching back to the crusades. His parents divorced after the loss of a child born three years after Henry. His mother became overly devoted to him as Lautrec was her only child.
Lautrec was a sickly child and was kept bedridden and isolated in the family's large estate. He discovered in his isolation a knack for drawing. His favorite subject is the horse. When he was 13, he suffered an accident that left him disabled for the rest of his life. With his bones already weak due to genetics, he fractured both legs in minor falls, and bones failed to heal properly. Lautrec was never going to live a typical life from that point on. His legs had become stunted while the rest of his body grew into maturity. Feeling isolated and outcast, Lautrec devoted himself to art.
Life as a painter
Lautrec would usually sit in the crowded nightclubs laughing and drinking, all the while swiftly making sketches of the scenes that caught his eye. He was renowned as a Post-Impressionist painter, lithographer, and art nouveau illustrator and was famous for his depictions of French fin de siècle urban life. 737 canvassed paintings, 275 watercolors, 363 prints and posters, 5,084 drawings, some ceramic and stained glass work, and some works are lost.
At the now legendary Moulin Rouge cabaret, Lautrec was hired to produce posters to advertise the show and produced At the Moulin Rouge. An avid collector of Japanese woodblock prints, his work echoed that. Lautrec soon became the premier poster artist for Paris and showed off the cabaret dancers as celebrities. He gave a direct and honest description of these women behind the scenes. The Laundress Marcelle Lender doing the Bolero in 'Chilperic,' Portrait of Vincent van Gogh and Salon at the Rue des Moulins are some of his other works, which made him famous.
Lautrec passed away due to alcohol abuse on 9 September 1901. Lautrec felt like an outcast throughout his life. His insecurities led him to seek out the oppressed and those marginalized by society with a sympathetic eye.