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Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

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Famed as a hard-drinking, aristocratic dwarf, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec was also one of the greatest graphic artists of all time. His growth was stunted by two childhood accidents, leaving him with an adult-sized torso and stubby legs. Having shown early talent, he was sent off to study under Léon Bonnat and by 21 had his very own Montmartre studio. His paintings were executed on cardboard using oil paint diluted with turpentine, a technique pioneered by Degas known as peinture à l’essence. Focusing on marginal figures from the city’s seedy underbelly, he depicted dancers and prostitutes with a sympathetic and humane eye. His ground-breaking art nouveau posters, comprised of flat areas of color, were influenced both by Gauguin’s paintings and Japanese woodblock prints. The lithographic adverts he made for the Moulin Rouge are among the most iconic images of fin-de-siècle Paris. His debauched lifestyle led to an early death, aged only 36.

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Works (77)

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