The Techniques of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
|October 26, 2011||Posted by Jacob Devies under Famous Painters|
Although Toulouse-Lautrec spent five years at the Bonnat atelier working with Emile Bernard, van Gogh and François Gauzi, he was somewhat alone among his fellow painters. His idol was Eugene Delacroix. He did, however, exhibit in the 1889 Salon des Independents, introducing Au bal du Moulin de la Gatte.
Toulouse-Lautrec was largely a painter of people, especially the cabaret singers, dance-hall performers, and prostitutes of the bohemian underworld of Paris in the so-called Gay Nineties. Like many artists, such as Manet, Degas and Mary Cassatt, he was influenced by the flat style and seemingly casual composition of Japanese prints. His excellent sense of line is seen also in his drawings and color lithographs, particularly in his posters for the Moulin Rouge and other Parisian places of entertainment, such as Moulin Rouge: La Goulue.
Louis Weber, the lead dancer in the quadrilles and the balls at the Moulin Rouge, was known as “la Goulue” because of her gluttonous appetite. Jean Lorrain described la Goulue as, “Fat, white skin moulded into a small black dress. She would elbow her way through the crowd, and insolently flirt with the men in the room, as if she were a beautiful young woman.”
Because la Goulue was the lead dancer at Moulin Rouge, Toulouse-Lautrec always painted her in the center of his canvases. Likewise, he always painted Yvette Guilbert, who sang at Divan-Japonais, emphasizing her long black gloves and made her famous for wearing them. He also painted his circus and music-hall canvases during this period, recording the performances of Marcelle Lender, Mary Belfort and the female clown Cha-U-Jao.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists)
This book provides an entertaining and humorous introduction to the famous artist, Toulouse Lautrec. Full-color reproductions of the actual paintings are enhanced by Venezia’s clever illustrations and story line.
With sketches as precise as they were biting, he created the worlds in which his subjects lived. Toulouse-Lautrec was the master of portraying his subjects with the simple line. They were magnificent caricatures that neither flattered nor sensationalized what he saw. Whether it was planned or intuitive is another matter; close friend Thadee Natanson said of the artist, “When Lautrec was drunk, he would come out with the most stupendous words, but when he was sober, it was totally different.”
Life of Henry Toulouse-Lautrec
Toulouse-Lautrec’s Color and Design
Toulouse-Lautrec’s palette was very limited. He was a subtle colorist who primarily used mauves, greens, white and black. He often used an unique, strange illumination – he painted a pale greenish and unearthly pallor on his subjects as exhibited in La Goulue Arriving at the Moulin Rouge with Two Women.
Like Degas, he painted his canvases in the Japanese style, often cutting a part of an object or subject out along the edges of the canvas – such as the profile of Felix Feneon on the right-side of the painting above.
Self-portrait in the crowd, At the Moulin Rouge, Art Institute of Chicago
Toulouse-Lautrec admired Degas and Degas commented while viewing one of his paintings, “You’re one of us.” However, Toulouse-Lautrec had a more penetrating eye and the canvases depicting life at the Moulin Rouge were painted with unwavering and calculated brushstrokes.
In part, this is due to Toulouse-Lautrec’s intimate knowledge of his models who he painted time and time again. He had a sensitivity for these people who lead the bohemian life or lived in the underworld of Parisian society.
He was a prolific artist and, although he died at the age of 37, he left behind a large body of work which is important both from an artistic and a historic point of view. He was emulated by the Fauves and much admired by a young Pablo Picasso.
Portrait of Gabrielle (1891)
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