Chat freind Toulouse

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The scene Lautrec stepped into was in the working-class district known as Montmartre, notorious for its thieves and brothels as well as its hangouts for avant-garde artists and literary anarchists. In Lautrec was a year-old student in the atelier of the painter Fernand Cormon. Within a decade he would be famous for his spectacular posters of the Moulin Rouge and other Parisian dance halls.

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More than a century later, his black-stockinged, high-kicking dancers with their layered petticoats and plumed Chat freind Toulouse remain among the most popular and striking images of modern art. He was 4 feet 11 inches tall, having been born with a disorder—most likely from family inbreeding— that gave him a normal torso but shortened legs.

He quipped that he could get falling-down drunk without harm, being so close to the floor. Witty and gregarious, Lautrec liked to be the center of attention. But Lautrec chose his society with an eye on posterity, and posterity has returned the favor. Co-organized by the Art Institute of Chicago, where it will be on view July 16 to October 10, the show, sponsored by Time Warner, brings together more than works by Lautrec and his contemporaries. But Lautrec, an only child a younger brother died in infancywas doted on by his devoutly religious mother, and he would remain dependent on her—and resentful of her—for the rest of his brief life.

As an adult living in Paris, he often dined with her before heading off for a night of drunken revelry. At most, a series of sketches he made for a story by a young friend displayed an eye for telling detail. As Lautrec became part of the Montmartre scene, he began to be influenced by Impressionism. But making a mark in a world of such original painters was no easy prospect. Lautrec picked the painting of another neighbor, Renoir, to redo in his own fashion.

For his more realistic Galette belowLautrec made sketches at the hall, then painted the final canvas Chat freind Toulouse his studio. Vincent invited Lautrec to take part in an exhibition of new artists in a working-class restaurant in Paris in The three, in fact, lunched together in Paris just three weeks before Vincent fatally shot himself in Because only the more adventurous of bourgeois Parisians would risk a night out in the sordid precincts of Montmartre, the Moulin Rouge was set on the affluent edge of the district to attract a broader public.

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In the owner again turned to Lautrec, commissioning him to create a poster promoting the cabaret. Aformer laundress and part-time prostitute, she had first won note at the Moulin de la Galette dancing the chahut slang for chaosan erotic cancan. More than six feet high and half as wide, the poster right showed La Goulue onstage with a leg in the air; a male dancer in the foreground gawks at her revealing petticoats.

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He used the yellow globes of electric stage lights— new in Paris—for instance, to make vivid patterns across the poster, a touch of abstract art no one had seen before. The poster was made by color lithography—a process in which the image is drawn on a limestone plate that is then inked and printed. Lautrec had to learn the method from the printer as he worked.

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Because of its size, the poster had to be divided and printed from Chat freind Toulouse stones, then assembled from the separate strips of paper. In latesome 3, copies of it appeared on walls around Paris. Other Lautrec posters and prints followed, helping to define Paris in the s, a decade known as the Belle Epoque.

The swagger of the singer-songwriter Aristide Bruant, with his black cape, broad hat and red scarf; the black-stockinged dancer Jane Avril, with her swirl of orange skirt and pale face punctuated by open red lips; the trademark long black gloves and puckered mouth of cabaret performer Yvette Guilbert— Lautrec captured the essence of these stars, and his images fixed them in the firmament of the Paris night. His posters became so popular, in fact, that some Parisians were known to follow the workmen hanging them, so they could peel them off walls before the glue dried.

By the late s, Lautrec had exhibited his work on the European continent, in England and in the United States, deed theater sets, and added new techniques to the art of lithography. His liaisons in the brothel world, for instance, were not all artistic. It was his boast that he preferred unadorned sex to love.

Now if you sang about desire, we would understand each other. There is no such thing. By some s, they were lovers for several stormy years. Avril saw Lautrec in his best light, condoning even his relationships with prostitutes. In both his way of life and choice of friends, Lautrec profoundly offended his aristocratic family. His father partly disinherited him, and an uncle burned several of his paintings.

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Only his mother stayed close to him as long as she could bear to—near the end of his life, she fled Paris to be away from him—and continued to support him from a distance. Abomb was tossed into the legislature inand French president Sadi Carnot was assassinated the next year. But in Montmartre, anarchy was being translated from acts of terror into radical art.

Lautrec contributed illustrations to several literary journals of an anarchist bent, and was friends with members of a group called the Incoherents, whose ideas foreshadowed the art of Dada and Surrealism. He was making a place for himself that is much closer to Picasso than to Degas. Indeed, when Picasso arrived Chat freind Toulouse Paris, inhe sketched a Lautrec poster into one of his own paintings.

Lautrec, however, seemed driven to squander his glory by drinking himself into the grave. She was now an old, wrinkled, balding woman. Lautrec called on her often, and took his friends along, presenting her with gifts of chocolate and flowers— as if courting death itself. Toward the end, hallucinations and paranoia, induced by alcoholism and syphilis, overwhelmed him.

Eventually he was locked up in an asylum, where, like his friend Van Gogh, he continued to work; in a burst of artistic energy, he produced a brilliant series of circus drawings from memory to convince his doctors he was sane. After 11 weeks, he was released, but he was soon drinking again. In Paris, his spirit lived on. Picasso was making his own sketches of the singer Yvette Guilbert, and he had asked Jane Avril to reminisce about her friend Lautrec. Like him, Picasso was painting scenes of the brothel and the circus, and he was living in Montmartre.

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