Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was an eccentric aristocrat. He left for Paris at the age of 18 to immerse himself in the art of painting - and the nightlife - of the city. Montmartre, then a breeding ground for artists, became his regular berth. Cafés, cabaret, the circus and the racecourses became the subjects of his light-hearted images. He drew his inspiration from the provocative women he met in brothels, theatres and dancing halls. These suggestive themes are recurrent throughout his Paris oeuvre. Lautrec painted big, bright patches of colour and intense black contours. His experiments with multicoloured lithographs are renowned, sometimes going through eight stages. For all that, he had the ability to portray his subjects using simple and clear designs. These multicoloured lithographs made him famous in wide circles, and still to this day his influence on other artists is overwhelming.
The complete graphic oeuvre of Toulouse-Lautrec
Lautrec met Vincent van Gogh in 1887 in Montmartre, Paris' artistic district. Both shared an interest in the Japanese art of woodcutting. While Van Gogh used this source of inspiration in a serious fashion, Toulouse-Lautrec applied the Japanese compositions to his paintings and posters with considerable humour.