Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: Or, How to Relive fin-de-siècle Paris


On October 16 the great exhibition on Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec will open up in Pisa, in the magnificent venue of Palazzo Blu. With his extraordinary production of groundbreaking graphic works, the French painter deeply renovated and remodelled the world of art, beginning its contemporary phase, and abandoning the typical canons and themes of the late nineteenth century.
By his very large and impressive output of paintings, lithographic works, playbills and placards, Toulouse-Lautrec more than anyone else succeeded in rendering the life and character of a city and its atmosphere, with all the colours of a generation. What we see is the very life style of Paris about at the end of the nineteenth century, with all its myths, the Moulin Rouge, Montmartre, the “maisons closes”, and so on: that fabulous period straddling two centuries when the Ville lumière was the undisputed world capital of the arts.
The scientific director of the exhibition is prof. Maria Teresa Benedetti, a well-known scholar in nineteenth century French art and a Toulouse-Lautrec expert.
More than 150 works by the artist of Albi will be present: the complete collection of his famous posters, a careful selection of paintings, and, for the first time in Italy, one of the most complete collections in the world from Toulouse-Lautrec’s graphic: first editions, and a number of lithographic works with pencil dedications and notes in the hand of the artist himself.
Among the most important works at the exhibition: the paintings Femme se frisant (1891), Femme Assise (1893), and the oil on cardboard Soldat anglais fumant la pipe. Among the posters, the celebrated Moulin Rouge, and La Goulue. The latter is a portrait of a famous dancer stemming from Lorraine, Louise Weber, known as la Goulue, that is the Glutton. It is also the first poster in a long series of graphic works in which Lautrec radically renovates the genre, turning it into a real artistic expression, and thus anticipating the modern concept of designer advertisement.
The exhibition is enriched by a selection of works by the so-called Italiens de Paris, masterpieces by great Italian artists of the same period, such as Boldini, Natali, Zandomeneghi, and Macchiati – all of them influenced by the art of Toulouse-Lautrec for their themes or style.

The exhibition will be open until February 14 2016.

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