Toulouse-Lautrec

A known French painter born in 1864, Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec Monfa was the firstborn in an aristocratic family in France. He suffered different illnesses which affected him greatly physically. His legs retained its child-like size but his torso developed to an adult-size. His inability to participate in many activities that others enjoyed led Toulouse-Lautrec to be involved in art. He was an important Impressionist painter, lithographer and art nouveau illustrator.

He was unable to maintain a stable relationship with women, due to his many insecurities. These insecurities and frustrations made Toulousse Lautrec develop in painting a way of escaping from reality, in a similar way as did Gauguin or Van Gogh.

Lautrec would become the painter of modernity, abandoning conventional style to form part of Post Impressionism. Night Scenes and cartoon-like portraits of the people of the night became his favourite painting motifs. He was drawn to the Bohemian lifestyle in Paris in the area of Montmartre. He painted a series of posters for Moulin Rouge and other nightclubs where he was held in a very special seat in the cabaret. He stayed in brothels for weeks where he painted the prostitutes as his models in their natural environment.

In less than 20 years of career, Toulouse-Lautrec made 363 prints and posters, 275 watercolors and 737 canvases. Included in his works were 5,084 drawings, ceramics, glassworks and many lost works. He was known along with Cézanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin for Impressionist arts. He was known for the excellent way he captured people in their environment, in which they were given individuality in his artworks. They were dispassionate and sympathetic in nature at the same time, as described. His style gave emphasis on contour and linear. Long thin brushstrokes were applied in his paintings.

Toulouse-Lautrec was not admitted in the Salon of Paris since his Works of art were considered unacceptable. This made him look for alternative ways of showing his art to the public, so the main public could get to know his Works of art. He even used newspapers. His Works were exposed either in solitary, or with the groups, or with his friends, such as Van Gogh.

His lifestyle led him to alcoholism and to his admission in a sanatorium. Complications of both alcoholism and syphilis were the cause of his death at Malformé, the family estate. He died before he reached his 37th birthday and he was buried in Verdelais, Gironde, near his birthplace in France.

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