Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec Dancer
Painting Technique: Ink + pencil on paper
Painting style: Post-Impressionism
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was a famed 19th-century French painter and poster artist known for works like ‘The Streetwalker’ and ‘At the Moulin Rouge.’
Who Was Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec?
Born on November 24, 1864, in Albi, France, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec pursued painting as a youth and went on to create innovations in lithograph drawing. He became highly famed for his posters, influenced by Japanese styles and Impressionist Edgar Degas, and for imbuing marginalized populations with humanity in his art, including sex workers, as seen in his 1896 print series Elles. Other notable works include At the Moulin Rouge and The Streetwalker. Consumed by heavy drinking and suffering from various illnesses, he died on September 9, 1901, at the age of 36.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was born into the aristocracy on November 24, 1864, in Albi, France. His parents, Adèle and Alphonse, were first cousins said to be descended from previous instances of family inbreeding, and as such Toulouse-Latrec and his cousins suffered related physical ailments. Both of Toulouse-Lautrec’s femurs were fractured during his teens, a condition believed to have contributed to his later height, with the young man reaching a height just above 4 1/2 feet, having a full-length torso with shortened legs and walking with the use of a cane. (It has been hypothesized he suffered from pycnodysostosis — also known as Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome — though others have questioned this.) He would also endure painful toothaches and facial deformities during his life as well.
Yet Toulouse-Lautrec, like other members of his family, would find solace in the world of art, taking up sketching before reaching his adolescence and honing his craft during his long periods of recuperation from health issues. He attended the Lycée Fontanes in Paris for a time in the early 1870s, and later studied with René Princetau and John Lewis Brown. These artists focused on animal portraiture and thus influenced some of Toulouse-Lautrec’s sensibilities later in his career. In 1882, Toulouse-Lautrec decided to study under Léon Bonnat before working under Fernand Cormon the following year.
Toulouse-Lautrec’s Paintings, Depictions of Women
Some of Toulouse-Lautrec’s most well-known works include the print The Englishman at the Moulin Rouge and the paintings At the Moulin Rouge (in which the artist depicted himself in a group mix) and Rousse, showing a woman in a café. As opposed to many of his contemporaries, art critics have pointed out that Toulouse-Lautrec was also known for his humanistic, realistic depictions of women, eschewing fantasy to accurately reflect the circumstances of many of the people he came to know.