TOULOUSE-LAUTREC by Henri Perruchot


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Although a great deal has already been written about Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the dwarfed son of one of France's most aristocratic families who became one of the most controversial artists of late nineteenth century Paris and one of her most notorious bohemians, this book surely has a claim to being his definitive biography. Not only is it carefully researched, not only does it contain little-known material about Lautrec's family and unusual photographs of Lautrec and his friends, but it is extremely readable. The Paris of the time, especially the studios and cafes of Montmartre and the artists, street singers, dancing girls, models, and prostitutes that lived there are vividly recreated, and against this we see the steps by which the stunted and crippled aristocrat turned a family talent for sketching into an art that was to win him a stature exceeding that of the normal men around him. We also see the steps of his ""moral suicide"" until, after bouts of alcoholism, syphillis, and insanity, Lautrec died at the age of 37, leaving behind him over 600 paintings. Throughout, the author's emphasis is on motivation, and he analyses not only the events in the painter's life but also many of his paintings to show how they illustrated his attitudes toward nature and man, his hatred of pity, and his growing personal misery. Footnotes, a bibliography, a chronology of Lautrec's life, and an index aid in making this a complete reference as well as a fascinating story.

Publisher: World