Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (äNrē´ də tōōlōōz´ lōtrĕk´), 1864–1901, French painter and lithographer, b. Albi. Son of a wealthy nobleman, Lautrec fell and broke both legs when he was a child. His permanently stunted growth has traditionally been seen as the result of this accident, but more recently doctors have theorized that it may have been the result of a rare genetic abnormality. Showing an early gift for drawing, he studied with Bonnat and Cormon and set up a studio of his own when he was 21. As a youth he was attracted by sporting subjects and admired and was influenced by the work of Degas.

His own work is, above all, graphic in nature, the paint never obscuring the strong, original draftsmanship. He detailed the music halls, circuses, brothels, and cabaret life of Paris with a remarkable objectivity born, perhaps, of his own isolation. His garish and artificial colors, the orange hair and electric green light of his striking posters, caught the atmosphere of the life they advertised. Lautrec's technical innovations in color lithography created a greater freedom and a new immediacy in poster design. His posters of the dancers and personalities at the Moulin Rouge cabaret are world renowned and have inspired countless imitations.

After a life of enormous productivity (more than 1,000 paintings, 5,000 drawings, and 350 prints and posters), debauchery, and alcoholism, Lautrec suffered a mental and physical collapse and died at the age of 37. His life has inspired numerous biographies, of varying accuracy. Although exhibitions of his work were not well received in his lifetime, he is now one of the world's most popular artists and is represented in most of the major museums of France and the United States. Many of his sketches and some paintings are in the Musée Lautrec of his native Albi. His painting At the Moulin de la Galette (1892) is in the Art Institute, Chicago; the lithograph Seated Female Clown (1896) is at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


See his correspondence, ed. by L. Goldschmidt and H. Schimmel (1969); complete lithographs and drypoints, ed. by J. Adémar (1965) and posters, intr. by E. Julien (1966); biographies by H. Perruchot (1960), P. Huisman (1964, repr. 1968), and J. B. Frey (1994); studies by D. Cooper (1969), F. Novotny (1969), J.-B. Naudin, G. Diego-Dortignac, and A. Daguin (1993), and D. Sweetman (2000).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: Selected full-text books and articles

Toulouse-Lautrec, Paintings, Drawings, Posters and Lithographs: Exhibition Dates, March 20-May 6, 1956, Museum of Modern Art, New York
Museum of Modern Art; Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Museum of Modern Art, 1956
Lautrec: Biographical and Critical Studies
Jacques Lassaigne; Stuart Gilbert.
Skira, 1953
Toulouse Lautrec
Jacques Lassaigne; Mary Chamot.
Hyperion Press, 1939
Toulouse-Lautrec: Exhibition Organized in Collaboration with the Albi Museum
Philadelphia Museum Of Art; The Art Institute Of Chicago.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1955
French Original Engravings from Manet to the Present Time
Claude Roger-Marx; André Gloeckner.
The Hyperion Press, 1939
Librarian’s tip: "The Lithographs of Toulouse-Lautrec"
History of Modern Painting: From Baudelaire to Bonnard: The Birth of a New Vision
Maurice Raynal; Stuart Gilbert.
Albert Skira, 1949 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Toulouse-Lautrec" begins on p. 85
The Impressionists
Wilhelm Uhde; Ludwig Goldscheider.
The Phaidon Press, 1937
Librarian’s tip: Chap. III "Degas, Gauguin, Lautrec"
FREE! Modern Art: Being a Contribution to a New System of Aesthetics
Julius Meier-Graefe; Florence Simmonds; George W. Chrystal.
G. P. Putnam's Sons, vol.1, 1908
Librarian’s tip: "Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec" begins on p. 283
Graphic Arts in the Twentieth Century
Wolf Stubbe.
Frederick A. Praeger, 1963
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec begins on p. 24
The Development of Artistically Gifted Children: Selected Case Studies
Claire Golomb.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Lautrec--Gifted Child Artist and Artistic Monument: Connections between Juvenile and Mature Work"
A Dictionary of Modern Painting
Carlton Lake; Robert Maillard.
Tudor Publishing, 1956
Librarian’s tip: "Toulouse-Lautrec" begins on p. 292
Men and Memories: Recollections of William Rothenstein
William Rothenstein.
Coward-McCann Inc., 1931
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Toulouse-Lautrec begins on p. 65
Pierre Courthion.
Skira, 1956
Librarian’s tip: "Lautrec's Perambulations" begins on p. 57
Biographical Dictionary of Literary Influences: The Nineteenth Century, 1800-1914
J. H. Powell; Derek W. Blakeley; Tessa Powell; James S. Olson.
Greenwood Press, 2001
Librarian’s tip: "Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri de (1864-1901)" begins on p. 416
Paris in Our Time
Pierre Courthion.
Skira, 1957
Librarian’s tip: Lautrec's and Bonnard's Paris" begins on p. 57
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