MY INSPIRATION: The strong contour and gesture captured in the line work of Toulouse-Lautrec. Strong Japanese influence in line and colour which I love. Toulouse-Lautrec created and saved imagery of private and quiet moments, exalting the soft-spoken.
Later today I will post one of my pastel sketches re-visiting the work of Lautrec.
Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa or simply Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French pronunciation: [ɑ̃ʁi də tuluz loˈtʁɛk]) (24 November 1864 – 9 September 1901) was a French painter, printmaker, draughtsman, and illustrator, whose immersion in the colourful and theatrical life of fin de siècle Paris yielded an œuvre of exciting, elegant 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 U.S.
GREAT ART IN SPITE OF HIS DISABILITIES:
Toulouse-Lautrec was drawn to Montmartre, an area of Paris famous for its bohemian lifestyle and for being the haunt of artists, writers, and philosophers. Studying with Bonnat placed Henri in the heart of Montmartre, an area that he would rarely leave over the next 20 years. Physically unable to participate in most of the activities typically enjoyed by men of his age, Toulouse-Lautrec immersed himself in his art. He became an important Post-Impressionistpainter, art nouveau illustrator, and lithographer; and recorded in his works many details of the late-19th-century bohemian lifestyle in Paris.
Toulouse-Lautrec, a misshapened and ridiculed small man whose parents were aristocratic first cousins, used his artworks to promote empathy for non-idealized, ordinary people. Behind the bright lights, mirrors, and festivities of the Rue des Moulins, Toulouse-Lautrec emphasizes the realities of working women. He paints women who don’t have traditionally perceived “feminine” and young hourglass shapes. Some of the arms on these women are bigger than most men’s arms. He does several paintings where the women are clearly struggling to squeeze their bodies into undersized corsets.
He created some idealized renderings of idealized women – the headlining singers and showgirls of his era. And these paintings and posters are also beautiful. But they are not beautiful because of their symmetry, smoothness, and perfection. They are more beautiful because of their individualized characterizations, expressiveness, and striking graphic strength.
His lines are loose, his borders intentionally imperfected. The women rarely “pose.” Rather, Toulouse-Lautrec took great care to allow them to move freely while he captured their natural postures.
Unlike most paintings of ballerinas, where the women are striking extreme poses, toes pointed, backs stiff & arched, and arms extended, Toulouse-Lautrec instead shows ballerinas at rest with their energy spent from working long, hard hours.