HENRI de   (1864-1901)


T. Lautrec: Autorretrato ante el espejo, c.1880.
Selfportrait Before the Mirror, c.1880.

  • The Weight of a Life Translated as Lightness:
         Lautrec was born in an aristocratic family. When he broke his two legs he became misshapen and bitter. He also found his father's rebuff, though his mother encouraged him. In 1883 he met Van Gogh, Gauguin and other artists in Cormont workshop. The most important model for Lautrec was Degas: he felt attracted by the same matters than him: dancing girls, horses... in spite of many differences between them. Degas represents a mechanic, monotonous and reiterative world but Lautrec paints fleeting and specific movements: that is why he develops a shift technique.
  • Lautrec's way of understanding art and his use of drawing:
         Lautrec means a depart for later Expressionism. In a first moment, he kept in touch with Impressionism, but he forgot it, since he had different interests. He hardly paints landscapes because he prefers living beings: specially dynamic human figure. He appreciated japanese art. His vehicle for expression is drawing. Because of his technique and his attitude towards his model Lautrec shows a great personality.

         His use of drawing has not much to see with the idea of traditional drawing as understood by academics: traslating image to canvas not only discovers its appearance but also the expression created by the object's vision. Through his touch of brush Lautrec expresses his loves and hates. He makes an expressive -not descriptive- use of drawing. He shows his ability for discovering psychologie of the things he has in view: dynamic human beings, individualized gestures, dances, performings... He is a clever spectator who sometimes treats inadequate matters. He represents reality without making neither criticism nor sweetening. For him artistic aspects go beyond the subject. With Gauguin, Lautrec is the creator of big areas with flat bottom.

  • Modern cartel:
         Lautrec is the creator of modern cartel, introducing features that influenced later publicity. In his posters we can see rapports between text and image. Cartel tries to persuade and requires a clean efficient and showy image. Lautrec was specially interested in psychological stimulus. From visual data he understands and goes deeply into personal aspects. When he picks up a personal feature he prefers drawing, pastel and lithography. Lautrec was attracted by two matters: scenario and horse races. He was not interested in middle class world; he rather looked for low ambiences, as Montmartre. Lautrec understood art as present comunication.
  • Techniques used by Lautrec:
         Lautrec searched for different techniques that he used as a real master. He even combined themes in order to experiment them. He makes notes mixing oil, chalk, pastel, chinese ink... His mixed technique let him create different effects. For his notes he prefers a not prepared brown cardboard. Then he applies oil diluted in trementine essence: it prodeces a curious texture, because the board absorbs essence and the surface keeps the dull oil. It does not recover the whole surface and it plays with color and the ribbed texture of the material.
  • Myth of Bohemian:
         During 1884-1893 Lautrec was living in Montmartre. These are his most fruitful years, though his troubles with alcool also grow because of his bohemian life. Now his idea of drawing takes him to deform figures. He paints cartels well known in cabarets. The first one was made for Moulin Rouge. It was painted in 1891. World of cabarets, concerts and shows is the departure for lithographs and paintings.

         Ca. 1891 he set up in brothels and bars where he felt all right, enjoying his surroundings. He loved marginalized people since he felt one of them. Indeed these persons were advantageous for him: they posed naked for him in a natural way for free. These years he composed a collection of titographs named Elles.

  • Works by T. Lautrec:
    T. Lautrec: Amazona en el Circo Fernando, 1888.  T. Lautrec, Amazone in Ferdinand Circus, 1888, oil on material, 100´3 x 161´3 cm, Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago.
    T. Lautrec: Baile en el "Moulin Rouge", 1890.  T. Lautrec, Dance at "Moulin Rouge", 1890, oil on material, 115´5 x 150 cm, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
    T. Lautrec: Justine Dieuhl en el Jardín de "Père Forest", 1890.  T. Lautrec, Justine Dieuhl at the Garden of "Père Forest", 1890, oil on cardboard, 74 x 58 cm, Paris, Musée d´Orsay.
    T. Lautrec: "Moulin Rouge": La Goulue, 1891.  T. Lautrec, "Moulin Rouge": La Goulue, 1891, lithograph in colors (cartel), 191 x 117 cm, Milan, Civica Raccolta di Stampe Bertarelli.
    With comment.
    T. Lautrec: La Goulue entra con dos mujers al "Moulin Rouge", 1892.  T. Lautrec, La Goulue Comes with Two Women into "Moulin Rouge", 1892, oil on cardboard, 79´4 x 59 cm, New York, Museum of Modern Art.
    T. Lautrec: "Ambassadeurs": Aristide Bruant, 1892.  T. Lautrec, "Ambassadeurs": Aristide Bruant, 1892, colored lithograph (cartel), 150 x 100 cm, private collection.
    T. lautrec: "Jardín de París": Jane Avril, 1893.  T. Lautrec, "Garden of Paris": Jane Avril, 1893, colored lithograph (cartel), 130 x 95 cm, private collection.
    T. Lautrec: Mujer poniéndose las medias, 1894.  T. Lautrec, Woman Wearing Her Panties, 1894, Gouache on cardboard, 64´5 x 44´5 cm, Albi, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec.
    T. Lautrec: El Salón de la Rue de Moulins, (detalle), 1894.  T. Lautrec, Salon in Rue de Moulins, 1894, oil on material, 111´5 x 132´5 cm, Albi, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec.
    With comment.
    T. Lautrec: Yvette Guilbert, 1894.  T. Lautrec, Yvette Guilbert, 1894, gouache on cardboard, 48 x 28 cm, Albi, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec.
    T. Lautrec: El jockey, 1899.  T. Lautrec, The Jockey, 1899, lithograph, oil and watercolor, 51´5 x 36´3 cm, private collection.


    Written by:
    Beatriz Aragonés Escobar.
    Licenciada en History of Art

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