Friday 12 August 2011

Toulouse-Lautrec - part 3

This is part 3 of a 4-part post on the life and works of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. For biographical notes and paintings see parts 1 and 2 also.

Toulouse-Lautrec’s artistic reputation was secured in the 1890s with the wide dissemination of more than 350 lithographic prints in the form of advertising posters and illustrations for books, newspapers and reviews. The technique assumed an importance in his oeuvre equal to painting, and he relished its spontaneity. Experimenting widely with tones and textures, and developing a distinctive yet subtle handling of colour, Lautrec revolutionised the process of lithography, becoming one of the greatest exponents of the art.

Lithographs, literally, ‘stone drawings,’ are based on the principle that water and oil repel one another. To create a lithographic print, the artist draws on a hard, flat surface – usually limestone – with an oil-based material such as lithographic crayon, which is then chemically ‘fixed.’ Next, the stone is washed with water, which covers the blank areas but is repelled from the image. The greasy printing ink is rolled over the stone, adhering only to the image, while the ink is repelled by the blank wet areas. Finally, paper is laid on the surface and pressure is applied to create the lithographic print, which is a mirror image of the original drawing. Colour lithographs simply repeat this process with multiple stones, each dedicated to a different colour.

1891 Moulin Rouge - La Goulue

Lautrec’s first lithograph, Moulin Rouge: La Goulue, used four separate stones and inks: black, yellow, red, and blue. Additional colours were created by the layering of these colours, as may be seen in the purplish tones of the foreground figure, and the greenish hues seen on the floorboards. Lautrec also used the technique known as crachis (spatter), which creates mists of color, similar to the effects of airbrushing. This effect may be achieved by either shaking a brush over a sieve, or by running a knife along the edge of a brush to cause the paint to spray. Lautrec’s poster uses three separate sheets of paper to create an image that is almost two meters high and over a meter wide, dwarfing the size of traditional posters of the period and adding to the advertisement’s bold tones and graphic style.

1895 The Irish American Bar, Rue Royale, Paris

The Irish American bar in the Rue Royale in Paris was a favourite haunt for the English and Irish jockeys and trainers, and the coachmen, who lived in Paris at this time. It was also frequented by music-hall artistes like Footit and Chocolat. Perhaps one of its most famous, or infamous, clients was Tom the florid coachman to the Rothschilds. Tom was a favourite subject for Lautrec, not least because he always managed to appear even more aristocratic and supercilious than his employers.

1899 Le Jockey

This was one of Toulouse-Lautrec's last lithographs. The publisher Pierrefort intended to issue a portfolio with a racing theme, but Toulouse-Lautrec was suffering acute alcoholic collapse at this time and this was the only print of the set that was completed. Three further works from the proposed series survive, but only one of these approaches a finished state. The Jockey was issued in two editions, first as a monochrome lithograph, and secondly in a colour version with the addition of five new colour stones.

1892 At the Moulin Rouge, La Goulue and her Sister

1892 The Englishman at the Moulin Rouge

1893 A la Gaieté Rochechouart, Nicolle

1893 Antoine et Gemier, Danse une Faillite

1893 Ducarre aux Ambassadeurs

1893 Un Redoute Au Moulin Rouge

1894 Brandés et Leloir, Dans Cabotins

1894 Judic

1894 La Tige - Moulin Rouge

1895 Cecy Loftus

1895 Mademoiselle Marcelle Lender en buste 

1895 Lender et Auguez, dans la Chanson de Fortunio

1895 Napoleon

1895 Yahne dans sa loge

1895 Zimmerman et sa Machine

1896 Femme en Corset, Conquête de Passage

1897 La Charrette Anglaise

1897 Elsa La Viennoise

1898 L’Automobiliste

1898 Yvette Guilbert - Menilmontant

Wednesday 10 August 2011

Toulouse-Lautrec - part 2

This is part 2 of a 4-part post on the works of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. For biographical notes and earlier works see part 1 also. Part three will feature his lithographs.

1892 Woman with Black Feather Boa 
oil on cardboard

c1892-95 In Bed 
oil on cardboard

1893 Portrait of Monsieur Boileau 
oil on cardboard

1893-4 Portrait of Marcelle

1894 Au Salon de la Rue des Moulins 
oil on canvas

1894 Femme de Maison 
oil on wood

1894 Rue des Moulins, The Medical Inspection 
oil on cardboard

1894 Yvette Guilbert 
charcoal and oil on tracing paper

1894-5 Les Deux amies / Abandon, The Two Friends

1894-5 Two Friends

1895 Cha-U-Kao, The Clowness 
oil on canvas

1895 Cha-U-Kau, The Clowness

1895-6 Lucie Bellanger

1896 Chocolate Dancing at Achille's Bar 
ink, pencil and charcoal

1896 The Toilette

1897 Crouching Woman with Red Hair

1897 Nude in Front of a Mirror 
oil on cardboard

1897 Portrait of Berthe Bady 
oil on cardboard

1897 Reclining Nude 
oil on wood panel

1899 En Cabinet particulier - au Rat Mort 
oil on canvas

1899 The English Barmaid at the Star in Le Havre 
oil on wood

1899-1900 Madame Poupoule at Her Dressing Table 
oil on board

1900 La Modiste - Mlle Louise Blouet, dited'Enguin 
oil on board

Monday 8 August 2011

Toulouse-Lautrec - part 1

Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa or simply Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864 – 1901) was a French painter, printmaker and illustrator, whose immersion in the colourful and theatrical life of fin de siècle Paris yielded an œuvre of exciting and provocative images of the modern, and sometimes decadent life of those times. Toulouse-Lautrec is known along with Cézanne, Van Gogh, and Gauguin as one of the greatest painters of the Post-Impressionist period. In a 2005 auction at Christie's auction house a new record was set when "La blanchisseuse", an early painting of a young laundress, sold for $22.4 million.

Toulouse-Lautrec was a direct descendant of an aristocratic family, born in 1864 at Albi, France. His wild and colourful father lived in moderate luxury, hunting with falcons and collecting exotic weapons. Henri began to draw at an early age and found the arts an escape from his loving but over-protective family.

In 1878 Toulouse-Lautrec suffered a fall and broke one femur. A year later he fell again and broke the other one – his legs didn’t heal properly. His torso developed normally, but his legs stopped growing and were permanently deformed.

1889 La Blanchisseuse 
oil on canvas
In 1882, encouraged by his first teachers – the animal painters René Princeteau and John Lewis Brown – Toulouse-Lautrec decided to devote himself to painting, and that year he left for Paris. Enrolling at the École des Beaux-Arts, he entered the studio of Fernand Cormon. In 1884 he settled in Montmartre in north Paris, where he stayed from then on, except for short visits to Spain, where he admired the works of El Greco and Diego Velázquez.

In England he visited celebrated writer Oscar Wilde and painter James McNeill Whistler. At one point Toulouse-Lautrec lived near painter Edgar Degas (1834–1917), whom he valued above all other contemporary artists and by whom he was influenced. From 1887 his studio was on the rue Caulaincourt next to the Goupil printshop, where he could see examples of the Japanese prints of which he was so fond.

By habit Toulouse-Lautrec stayed out most of the night. He frequented many entertainment spots in Montmartre, especially the Moulin Rouge. He moved freely among the dancers, the prostitutes, the artists, and the intellectuals of Montmartre. From 1890 on his tall, lean cousin, Dr. Tapié de Celeyran, accompanied him, and the two, depicted in "At the Moulin Rouge" (1892), made a colourful pair. Despite his deformity, Toulouse-Lautrec was extremely social and readily made friends.

1892 At the Moulin Rouge 
oil on canvas

Among his favorite subjects were the cabaret dancers Yvette Guilbert, Jane Avril, and La Goulue and her partner, Valentin le Désossé, the contortionist. Through the seriousness of his intention, Toulouse-Lautrec depicted his subjects in a style bordering on, but rising above, caricature.

Unusual types performing in a grand show attracted Toulouse-Lautrec. In his painting "In the Circus Fernando: The Ringmaster" (1888) the nearly grotesque, strangely cruel figure of the ringmaster is the center around which the horse and bareback rider must revolve. From 1892 to 1894 Toulouse-Lautrec produced a series of interiors of brothels, where he actually lived for a while and became the companion of the women.

1888 At the Cirque Fernando, The Ringmaster 
oil on canvas
As with his paintings of cabarets, he caught the feel of the brothels and made no attempt to glamorize them. In the "Salon in the Rue des Moulins" (1894) the prostitutes are shown as ugly and bored beneath their makeup; the madam sits quietly in their midst. He neither sensationalised nor drew a moral lesson but presented a certain interpretation of this side of society for what it was – no more and no less.

Eventually alcoholism and his loose lifestyle caught up with Toulouse-Lautrec and he suffered a breakdown in 1899. His mother had him committed to an asylum at Neuilly, France. He recovered and set to work again, but not for very long. He died in 1901 at the family estate at Malromé, France.

This is part 1 of a 4-part post on the works of Toulouse-Lautrec:

1882 A Labourer at Celeyran

1882-3 Self-portrait 
oil on cardboard

1883 Comtesse Adèle-Zoé de Toulouse-Lautrec, the Artist's Mother 
oil on canvas

1886 Drawing Room at the Château de Malromé 
oil on canvas

1886 Jeanne Wenz

1889 Au Bal du Moulin de la Galette 
oil on canvas

1889-90 Training of the New Girls by Valentin "the Boneless" (Moulin-Rouge) 
oil on canvas

1889-90 Justine Dieuhl 
oil on board

1890 Désiré Dihau (Reading a Newspaper in the Garden) 
oil on cardboard

1890 The Policeman's Daughter 
oil on cardboard

1891 Louis Pascal 
oil on board

1891 Portrait of Honorine Platzer

1892 A Corner of the Moulin de la Galette

1892 At the Moulin Rouge, The Beginning of the Quadrille
 gouache on cardboard

1892 At the Moulin Rouge, Two Women Waltzing 
oil on cardboard

1892 Jane Avril Dancing 
oil on cardboard

1892 La Goulue Arriving at the Moulin Rouge with Two Women
 oil on  cardboard

1892 Le Baiser 
oil on cardboard