Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre

Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre

by Richard Thomson, Mary Weaver Chapin
     
 

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Childhood illness and injuries steered Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) away from customary rural aristocratic avocations and toward a profession as an artist. He became a painter, draftsman, and lithographer whose work was immersed in famously hedonistic, fin-de-siècle Paris. In his hands, advertising posters were raised to a high art; he portrayed the

Overview

Childhood illness and injuries steered Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) away from customary rural aristocratic avocations and toward a profession as an artist. He became a painter, draftsman, and lithographer whose work was immersed in famously hedonistic, fin-de-siècle Paris. In his hands, advertising posters were raised to a high art; he portrayed the nightlife of Montmartre-circuses, cafés, dance halls, and brothels-with clear, bold color and a certain seamy panache that is instantly recognizable as his. His much mythologized life has found its way into many biographies and into two feature-length movies called Moulin Rouge.

Lavishly illustrated with 370 color plates, Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre is the first major work to present the artist's oeuvre in the context of Montmartre's lively art scene from roughly 1885 to 1901. Accompanying an exhibition of the same name at the National Gallery of Art and The Art Institute of Chicago, the book features the important paintings, drawings, prints, and posters Toulouse-Lautrec made on Montmartre subjects. It also includes masterpieces by contemporaries he inspired or who inspired him-Degas, Van Gogh, Picasso, and others-as well as rarely seen illustrations, lithographs, photographs, and ephemera of the era. And it discusses the artists, writers, actors, singers, and dancers who formed Toulouse-Lautrec's circle.

The book's gracefully written essays by Richard Thomson, Phillip Dennis Cate, and Mary Weaver Chapin, with Florence E. Coman, address these themes in light of the rise of the color poster, the proliferation of new forms of entertainment, and the emergence of a celebrity-oriented popular culture. Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre evokes a colorful, chaotic era, and adds a new dimension to our understanding of the art of Toulouse-Lautrec.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Finalist for the 2006 Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Award, College Art Association

"Studying this exhibition, you may well conclude that the key to Lautrec is not Montmartre but the women of Montmartre, by whom he appears endlessly fascinated and depicts with remarkable empathy. He does not turn women into stereotypical sex objects, as does, say, Renoir. But neither is he clinically detached like Degas, who was a hugely important influence on Lautrec. Nor does he exoticize women a la Gauguin, or worship them as preternaturally beautiful goddesses, as the academic Bouguereau does. If not uniquely, at least highly unusually, Lautrec seems in his art to be interested in women as independent people, free agents and creative artists."--Ken Johnson, The New York Times

"What makes Toulouse Lautrec and Montmartre ultimately so compelling is its contemporary resonance. More than a century separates us from Toulouse-Lautrec's era, yet we are struck by a moral proximity that holds a mirror to our own time. After all, we live in the modern phase of the very celebrity culture that was born on the slopes of Montmartre."--Thomas Singer, The Washington Times

"Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmarte is a beautiful, comprehensive, must-have book for any Toulouse-Lautrec fan."--The Bloomsbury Review

"This handsomely illustrated catalog . . . is factual and clearly written, with sound and convincing analyses and no theoretical or ideological obfuscations."--Jeffrey Meyers, Wilson Quarterly

"With comprehensive information about the artist, his milieu, and his contemporaries, this is a great addition to your art library."--Art Times

"The art is vivid and sensuous, the text illuminating and informative, bringing an important period in art history to life."--Sasha Roeder Mah, Edmonton Journal

"The wealth of color reproductions tell much of the vibrant story of Montmartre and the essays draw direct connections between some of the Montmartre groups that were direct precursors to the surrealism, dadaism, and conceptual art movements to follow."--Art New England

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691129044
Publisher:
National Gallery of Art
Publication date:
08/21/2006
Pages:
308
Product dimensions:
9.60(w) x 11.50(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Richard Thomson is Watson Gordon Professor of Fine Art at the University of Edinburgh. Phillip Dennis Cate is Director Emeritus and Supervisor of Curatorial and Academic Activities at The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Mary Weaver Chapin is Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow at The Art Institute of Chicago. Florence E. Coman is Assistant Curator of French painting at the National Gallery of Art.

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