Saturday, 23 November 2013


Henri Marie Raymonde de Toulouse-Lautrec was born 24 November 1864 at Albi, France. His ancestors were the Counts of Toulouse. He was not born with a disability as many think; he broke both legs in 1879 and this stunted his growth. Prior to that he was an avid sportsman, but was forced to find a new interest and turned to painting.

Henri was schooled in Paris at the Lycee Fontanes and afterwards he returned to Albi in 1878. From 1882 on he studied with Bonnat and Cormon alongside Emile Bernard and Vincent van Gogh. In 1884 he set up a studio in Montmartre, Paris. He painted his friend Vincent in 1887, somewhat mimicking the artist's wild brushstrokes but with pastels.

His style was quite unique, very graphic and lending itself well to the poster art he is famous for. He was inspired by Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism but his main influence was Edgar Degas. He also adapted Japanese print design.

Henri loved the night life of Paris and was famous for drinking and debauchery. He painted what he saw and gives a fascinating glimpse of street life in the Belle Epoch era. In 1898, as a result of his life of excess, he ended up in a sanitorium, and on 9 September 1901 he died at Chateau de Malrome, Gironde, France. He was only 37 years old.