Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Jekyll Island Beach 2012
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

H is for Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec





The Rogue Speaks:

Little Henri came by his creativity honestly. His father was a rather eccentric fellow who loved playing dress-up! Now before you start getting the wrong idea, he was not actually a cross-dresser. He had cowboy outfit he was fond of wearing, and once appeared in public wearing a Scottish plaid and a dancer's tutu at the same time. One of his pastimes, aside from hunting, was chasing young women. He was also quite interested in the arts, and dabbled in sculpture.

In 1879, at the age of 15, Henri broke one of his legs. The following year, he broke the other leg! The breaks were at growth plates and did not mend well, and as a result, Henri's upper body grew normally, but his legs stopped growing and became misshapen. He looked like a grotesque dwarf.

Henri had always been interested in art, and because of his deformities, his family decided to encourage his interest. Before his accidents, he had been studying art in earnest under a portraitist, Leon Bonnat, but Bonnat's career was near its end, and Henri later studied under Fernand Cormon. Cormon's studio was in Montmartre, and it was there that Henri began his discovery of dance halls and cabarets.

Henri had boundless, and a boundless thirst for alcohol!! He worked hard by day, but his nights were spend wandering around Montmartre, popping in and out of dance halls and brothels, known as the maisons closes.

Henri's lifestyle, as one might surmise, was very unhealthy! Despite his deformities, he was extremely sexually active and referred to himself as "a little teapot with a big spout." He naturally came down with syphilis, and became quite an alcoholic! At one point he had an attach of delirium tremons and was hauled off to an asylum. He dried out for around three months, but after he was released, he started drinking again. In August of 1901, he had a stroke, and was taken care by his mother at her home. He died three weeks later.

Henri was most noted for his wonderful posters, most of which were produced for his favorite dance hall, La Moulin Rouge. His portraits were lovely and sensitive, and he painted many of the prostitutes and dance hall women he had come to know.

My BFA gave me a coffee cup with the image of Jane Avril (4th photo down) and I frequently have my coffee while thinking of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, one of the few artists who actually made money before he drank himself to death. One day I will tell you about an artist who did not abuse his body with drugs, alcohol, or prostitutes, and was successful before death. I just have to find one.

38 comments:

H said...

Sad that such a talent should feel the need to drown himself in alcohol and sex. His Dad sounds quite a character!

Nora Johnson said...

Love his works - such a very talented artist.

Superb 'H' post!

XOXO Lola & Nora:)

Mary said...

Still chuckling over "little teapot with a big spout"! I've always liked the Moulin Rouge poster :-)

CollectIn Texas Gal said...

Now that's something to know....Henri's Dad liked to wear Cowboy clothes! Henri's story could have taken place in the Texas Wild West...same things goin' on...Whiskey and Women...except in the Old West they shot things that broke their legs.

lissa said...

another tortured artist but quite talented - it's a wonder how any of them managed to create with such lifestyles

one of my favorite artist is Georgia O'Keeffe - I don't think she abused drugs or alcohol but who can be sure?

EG Wow said...

I wonder why so may very talented people live such tortured lives. Thank you for telling his story.

ChrisJ said...

It's hard not to get the wrong idea when Scottish plaid and a tutu are involved! :)
---
I've always liked his art.

NatureGirl said...

I grew up with a Toulouse-Lautrec museum print hanging in our living room. My mother would tell us it was valuable, but we just thought it was ugly. I have come to appreciate it now, but boy did we hate that contorted, misshapen girl...

RNSANE said...

What an excellent, educational post. Twice, I've been to the show at the Moulin Rouge - with wonderful seats both times. I was in Paris for my 40th birthday and, again, just a few years ago ( I was 66 in Oct ). For birthdays 64 & 65, I was in Rome.

Birgit said...

What an informative H post -- thanks for sharing!

myorii said...

Wow, what an interesting post! I just love learning so much about arts and novelists. It's always so fun to come here just to learn. Despite having taken art history at my university, I've never actually heard of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. It's always so tragic when a gifted artist becomes self-destructive and then dies too young. At least he made money before he died. I feel like a lot of the really famous ones always tend to become famous after death. Thanks for sharing yet another educational post!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I learn something new every week from you posts! Great job!

JJ said...

I am your newest follower from Jenny Matlock. My middle name is Helper. Please follow me as well. Thank you.

The Disconnected Writer
http://thedisconnectedwriter.blogspot.com/

Pondside said...

His images are so well-known. For me they bring up a feeling of crazy abandon - that tragic 'live for today and hang the consequences' ethos that was around before the first war.

skdd said...

I saw this last night and found it interesting. I am glad I stopped by again. Lovely day.

askcherlock said...

No doubt he was a brilliant artist. I think much great art comes from being born of the womb of pain, depression, physical disabilities, difficult childhoods, alcohol, etc. I see this in writers as well. But the gift they leave us, in spite of it all, is often splendid work like Henri's. Thanks for another interesting post!

sarah said...

nice! every interesting thursday post! thanks for sharing! blessings...s..

Theresa said...

So interesting learning about Henri...have a collection of some of his prints and love them!

Jenny said...

Judie, I'm so glad to see you here today. I was actually wondering if that top photo was distorted. I did not know that about his growth plates being damaged.

Oh, who am I kidding. I didn't know most of this.

But it is, indeed, fascinating tales of angst and talent.

My favorite part of this post was your last line, though. I'm anxious to see if you can find an artist that fits those categories.

Thanks for a great stop on Alphabe-Thursday.

I always love visiting you.

And here's an extra little hug today as you sift through your memories.

Hugs and A+

Judie said...

Thanks, Jenny. I am needing all the hugs I can get right now.

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

You are a brilliant combination of entertaining and informative, Judie. Thank you.
xoRobyn

Cheryl D. said...

Thanks for the info! I knew about his shortness and posters, but that was it!

paige said...

Hmm. Perhaps a tortured soul is the best artist.

I wish my history teacher had told stories like you do.

Elisa said...

OMG. This whole time I thought his name was Toulouse Lautrec. HAHAHAHA. And I went to art school!

*blush*

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Interesting, as always!

This blog is truly a feast for the senses, I love stopping here...

xxoo,

Rocky Mountain Woman

nothingprofound said...

Henri was fortunate, at least, not to die from syphilis-a horrible death. It's wonderful how all the Impressionists found their own niche, and produced such vital works. Degas and his ballerinas, and Henri with his dance hall girls. If Lautrec were alive today, his medical problems would be easily alleviated, except for the alcoholism. Have you seen "Moulin Rouge?"-a very entertaining film about his life.

Judie said...

The music you hear is from Moulin Rouge--not the Nichole Kidman film, but one from many years ago. I have seen both films and prefer the first one.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I'm enjoying learning more about all the rogue artists you bring is every week on Alpahabe Thursday, Judie.

I've also enjoyed looking at your exquisite artwork on your blog sidebar and listening to your music.

I like the original Moulin Rouge movie better than the recent film, myself.

Pat

nothingprofound said...

Judie-I was referring to the original film, with Jose Ferrer. Never even heard of the Kidman version.

Judie said...

The Kidman version was bizarre, to say the least! I turned it off about half-way through.

Jo said...

Thanks for sharing that interesting bio ... It must have been mayhem living his life in such a style and still being able to settle enough to paint ... I think all of the greats had a touch of crazy didn't they! i think it's a prerequisite!

Jessica said...

WOW! Your blog is amazing!! Thanks for stopping by mine...I had a few people ask about my owl so I posted a lil about how I made him.
http://uncooked-art.blogspot.com/2010/11/mrb-owl-update.html

Lourie said...

I love coming here. I have learned something new with every visit! And your H post did not disappoint.

•••Mumsy••• said...

What a life Henri had! I do hope that you will find an artist who doesn't drink, do drugs or prostitutes too..

mle said...

Judie, you always have the most interesting tidbits about artists!
I enjoy Henri's work!
ps your play list is awesome : )

Brenda said...

I have seen these posters often but did not know who the artist was. Thanks for an informative post. My daughter is an illustrator so probably has studied many of the artist you post about. I am sitting here listening to gun fire all around me at this time. It is opening day of deer season and I much rather hear your pretty tune. Hubs is out in the woods behind our house and I worry about him. Have to leave for work soon and hope he will be safe. Thanks for your visit.

The Guy's Perspective said...

I like this series you're doing.

I didn't know much about Mr. Lautrec, especially about his legs, and how he became an artist. Interesting.

I hope you're doing okay. Once again, I'm really sorry about your cute little doggie. Take care.

Magyar said...

So nicely written, Judie!
_m