Lautrec: Biographical and Critical Studies

Lautrec: Biographical and Critical Studies

Lautrec: Biographical and Critical Studies

Lautrec: Biographical and Critical Studies

Excerpt

No real self-portrait by Toulouse-Lautrec exists, except a youthful work: a fleeting glimpse of a face reflected in a mirror, with a far-away look and indeterminate outlines. Portraits made in after years by his friends, Javal (1883), Anquetin (1889) and Adolphe Albert (1897), by Vuillard (1898) in the Natansons' home at Villeneuve-sur-Yonne, and by Maxime Dethomas (1898) at Granville, are more revealing. Harshest of all are the little effigies of himself that Lautrec made, doodling-wise, on restaurant tablecloths, or like pictographic signatures in the corners of sketches; in these he brought out frankly, if with a brevity confessing his reluctance, his physical deformity and the almost equal ugliness of his face.

Some photographs confirm this touching self-revelation. Oddly enough Lautrec liked donning fancy dress for dances in friends' houses and artists' balls, and he faced the camera as . . .

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