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Henri  de Toulouse-Lautrec

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Heavily immersed in the colorful and theatrical life of 19th century Paris, Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901) produced elegant and provocative images of modern Paris. Born an aristocrat, he broke both legs in childhood leading him to turn to drawing and painting while healing. While studying art in Paris, he met prominent artists like Vincent van Gogh who influenced his style and vibrant use of color.

With his studio in Montmartre, the center of Parisian nightlife, the artist immersed himself in the colorful and theatrical life of this period. He loathed professional models, instead he sought out prostitutes and cabaret performers who provided him with the natural, unconstrained movement he sought. He painted quickly and frequently, often in thinned oil paint on raw cardboard, using its neutral tone as a design element. The influence of Japanese prints inspired his oblique angles of vision, near-abstract shapes, and calligraphic lines.

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