Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec began his career in Paris, at the intersection of the city's nightlife boom and the birth of modern printmaking. He became the premier poster artist for the city's theaters and nightlife, creating promotional images of the era's most famous actors (and the first modern celebrities). Heavily resembling Japanese woodblocks from half a century before, his posters are characterized by large blocks of flat colors or silhouettes surrounded by dark outlines
Outside of his commissioned works of starlets, Lautrec often preferred prostitutes as his subjects. Lautrec himself had been the victim of generations of his family's inbreeding, and as a result he was both a dwarf and severely crippled. Lautrec turned to alcohol and brothels early on, a combination that would lead to an early death from complications of syphilis. These disabilities, however, contributed to his infamous acerbic sense of humor and gave him an eye for depicting fellow outcasts as simultaneously sordid and sympathetic.
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Ambassadeurs Aristide Bruant dans sons Cabaret
Lithograph, 19.5" x 28.25", 1966
Lithograph, 18" x 28.75", circa 1891
Mademoiselle Cha-U-Kao, Maison de la Pensée Française
Lithographic Poster, 18.75" x 26", 1955