Volume 36 Issue 2, July 2005

Volume 36 Issue 2

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)

Marcelle Lender Dancing the Bolero in the operetta Chilpéric, 1895-96. Oil on canvas.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec contributed greatly to the development of Art Nouveau in the 1890s. He was born in Albi, France, the last of an aristocratic family dating back 1000 years. Henri was a weak child and from an early age concentrated on observing and drawing, rather than participating in, social activities. Tragically bone disease, probably osteogenesis imperfecta, and two falls resulted in crippling injuries.

After failing his Baccalaureate he studied art. He was befriended and influenced by artists including van Gogh and Degas. He settled in Montmartre and was a witty, though ruthless, observer of the gaudy nightlife and sordid elements of Parisian society. Alcoholism led to the failure of his health and he died at Malrome in 1901.

“Chilperic” was a burlesque version of gory historical events, satirizing grand opera. Marcelle Lender, b.1862, began dancing at the age of 16 and became well-known at the Théâtre des Variétés, her reputation enhanced by Toulouse-Lautrec's exuberant studies.


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Quality of Life


Book Review