Author: Franck Maubert
Published by Assouline
ISBN: 2 84323 655 X
The following review was contributed by: Lily Azerad-Goldman &CLICK TO VIEW Lily Azerad-Goldman's Reviews
This little book was created for the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington - Toulouse-Lautrec & Montmartre (March 20 – June 12, 2005)
TOULOUSE-LAUTREC IN PARIS consists of two parts, the first one, a short history of the era and of Toulouse-Lautrec’s brief life, and the second half consisting of beautiful reproductions of his drawings, paintings and photographs.
The historical part bears witness to the fin de sičcle Paris. Toulouse-Lautrec was glad to represent the decadence that was fashionable in his time. Suffering from “achon dorplasia”, a congenital disease that left him crippled and short, he projected both his aristocratic background and the bitterness of his crippled body onto his bold drawings and his acidic interior colors.
Considered a lithographer-illustrator, his drawings and paintings transcend the myth of the easy prostitutes and bring his subjects to a higher aristocratic plateau. Zinc plate prints and posters, also new techniques for his times, allowed a wide distribution of his art- work. Photography allowed him to use unusual angles in his work, giving his drawings a dramatic perspective.
It was Toulouse-Lautrec’s good friend Maurice Guibert, amateur photographer and salesman for Moet and Chandon Champagne, who introduced him to the brothels. There he found his favorite subject, the ladies with heart who always accepted him despite his terrible handicap.
Through his paintings, Toulouse-Lautrec created the myth of moral depravity with an aristocratic touch.
Look at the portraits of the “ladies”. The artist has projected his refined background in their demure postures, his pretend “joie de vivre” in the movements and the actions of his subjects. But look closely at their expressions and you will find the bitterness of an insurmountable handicap that has soured the artist’s life.
If one looks at “The Milliner” on p. 72 one can feel the sad inner feelings of the acid-green lady…. In “Two Friends” the expression of the seated model denotes her private sadness and acceptance of her fate. All his paintings and drawings have an unforgettable moving soul.
As the author explains, the work cannot be separated from his life. “The two are inseparably intertwined”. You have to look at both TOULOUSE-LAUTREC’S works and learn about his debauchery to really appreciate this tremendous legacy.
TOULOUSE-LAUTREC IN PARIS is a little treasure to be enjoyed for generations to come.