Paris: An exhibition showing the works of painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, famed for his portrayal of Paris’s cafes, brothels and cabarets at the end of the nineteenth century, opens next week in the French capital. It is the first Parisian retrospective of Toulouse-Lautrec, considered one of the most influential Post-Impressionists, in three decades and the organizers aim to give the public a more broad view of the painter’s short career.
“We wanted to show works that had not been on display during the last retrospective in 1991, especially the first works and the last ones,” art critic Stephane Guegan said. “The first works (were not shown then) because they are seen as too academic, which is a mistake, and the last works because they are deemed poor, which is another mistake,” added Guegan, also an advisor to the Musee d’Orsay. “I think that, with this exhibition, the public will have the opportunity to reassess his work as a whole.”
Toulouse-Lautrec captured the bohemian Parisian nightlife of the 1890s and immersed himself in it. Inspired by the nascent art of photography, he adapted an unconventional style with his portraits. “He understood what photography brought to the world of images. He imported and sometimes was ahead of certain photographic effects that would not really be used before the twentieth century,” Guenan said, adding that Toulouse-Lautrec had many friends amongst photographers.
Born in Albi in 1864, Toulouse-Lautrec spent most of his life in Paris. He died in 1901, leaving behind between 700 and 800 paintings, 300 lithographs and 40 posters. He notably painted posters for the Moulin Rouge, the French cabaret famous for its high-kicking cancan dancers and flesh-exposing ostrich feather costumes, which first opened its doors to audiences exactly 130 years ago. The Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition at the Paris’s Grand Palais runs from Oct 9 to Jan 27.