Monday, November 24, 2014

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Today is the 150th birthday of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
  1. Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec Monfa was born in Albi, Tarn in the Midi-Pyrenees region of France, the firstborn child of Comte Alphonse and Comtesse Adele de Toulouse-Lautrec.
  2. Henri's parents, the Comte and Comtesse, were first cousins (Henri's two grandmothers were sisters) and Henri suffered from congenital health conditions sometimes attributed to a family history of inbreeding.
  3. At age twelve Toulouse-Lautrec broke his left leg and at fourteen his right leg and the bones did not heal properly, and his legs ceased to grow. The post-Impressionist, whose legs stopped growing when he was a child so that he grew to a height of 1.54m (5ft 1in), was one of the most celebrated characters of La Belle Epoque.
  4. Deprived of the physical life that a normal body would have permitted, Toulouse-Lautrec lived completely for his art. Lautrec's physical appearance contributed to his suffering from alcoholism, and he's thought to have invented the notorious cocktail "Earthquake" - 3 parts Absinthe, 3 parts Cognac, over ice. 
  5. The bright green and alarmingly potent spirit Absinthe became the creative fuel for the bohemian artists of the day. It became known as "the queen of poisons", favoured by Lautrec, Picasso and van Gogh.
  6. In his 20-year art career, Toulouse-Lautrec was exceptionally prolific, creating 737 canvases, 275 watercolours, 363 prints and posters and at least 5,084 drawings - as well as ceramic and stained glass work.
  7. "The Laundress" is the painting that set a new record when Christie's auction house sold it in 2005 for $22.4m.
  8. Actress Marcelle Lender was a favourite subject of Toulouse-Lautrec, who had a passion for theatre in all forms.
  9. The young Pablo Picasso imitated Toulouse-Lautrec when he first visited Paris and in fact, Toulouse-Lautrec influenced Picasso’s concept of art throughout his career.
  10. “A favourite model was a red-haired prostitute called Rosa la Rouge from whom he allegedly contracted syphilis.”
  11. An alcoholic for most of his adult life, Toulouse-Lautrec was placed in a sanatorium (also spelled sanitorium and sanitarium) after a particularly violent bout of delerium tremens in 1889 shortly before his death. He recovered and was released, but died in 1901 from complications due to alcoholism and syphilis at the age of 34 at the family estate in Malrome, fewer than three months before his 37th birthday. He is buried in Verdelais, Gironde, a few kilometers from the Chateau of Malrome, where he died.
  12. Toulouse-Lautrec's last words reportedly were: "Le vieux con!" ("Old fool!")

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec Biography
Henri de Toulouse Lautrec: Google celebrates 150th anniversary of French artist's birth
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901)
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec [French Post-Impressionist Painter and Printmaker, 1864-1901]
Why Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is much more than Google Doodle’s poster boy
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: The French painter's 10 most famous works and facts about his life

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