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Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Calendars
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Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Posters, Books, Video, Links for Learning
for art history and social studies classrooms, art studios, & home schoolers.

art history > Post-Impressionist > HENRI de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC < famous men < social studies

Toulouse-Lautrec Self Portrait, 1880, Giclee Print
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Self Portrait, 1880

Toulouse-Lautrec signature

Count Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
b. 11-24-1864; Albi, Tarn, France
d. 9-9-1901; Saint-André-du-Bois

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was a post-impressionist painter and art nouveau illustrator. He was declared the "soul of Montmartre" for his intensely lurid colored posters and paintings depicting the music halls and intimate lives of this Parisian quarter during the Belle Epoque (Fr = Beautiful Era) era.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was born an aristocrat, into a closely knit noble family, the Counts of Toulouse (his parents were first cousins). Due to a rare bone disease Lautrec's leg bones broke easily and did not heal properly from childhood accidents; as an adult he had a normal sized torso and stunted legs, giving his the illusion of being a dwarf.

Toulouse-Lautrec Self Portrait, 1896, Giclee Print
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Self Portrait, 1896

It was a combination of his talent for observation and drawing, which his parents supported with lessons and a studio, and his deformity which kept him from being a full participant in the lives around him, that he was able to capture and master the expression of the steamy Paris night life.

Portrait of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Late 19th Century, Giclee Print
Photographic Portrait of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Late 19th Century

Toulouse-Lautrec had early academic training and particularly admired the Impressionist Edgar Degas. While Degas depicted the backstage of the ballet stage, Toulouse-Lautrec may have felt less conspicuous with his physical deformity around people who also did not "fit in" - they were deformed with garish make-up and seemed to grimace in Lautrec's portraits. Eventually Lautrec self medicated himself with alcohol against their ridecule - one of the people he repeatedly portrayed said, "I asked him to come along because I wanted to frighten off anyone who might try to accost me", La Goulue, on spending the day in Lautrec's company in the Bois de Boulogne. Fortunately his skill and innovation in the art of lithography was well suited to the advertising necessary for Paris night life and he had considerable commercial success.

In 1898 Lautrec's alcoholism caused his family to send him to a private sanatorium, in that recuperation time he worked on a series of circus drawings. Though he was able to return to his studio for a time, he became partially paralyzed before his death.


Mlle. Eglantine, Moulin Rouge, Toulouse-Lautrec Art Print
Masterworks of Art - Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

'At the Moulin Rouge' is one of about 30 of Toulouse-Lautrec's illustrations of the famous Paris music hall. In the painting you can see Toulouse-Lautrec seated in the backgroung among his friends. The Masterworks of Art poster series posters give a short biography of the artist, a critique of the painting, and suggestions for activities.

Jane Avril, Jardin de Paris, 1893, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Giclee Print
Jane Avril,
Jardin de Paris,
1893, Giclee Print
Jane Avril (1868-1943), Louise "La Goulue" Weber (1866-1929), Loie Fuller "La Loie" (1862-1928), and Marcelle Lender (1862-1926) were dancers all immortalized in the art of Lautrec.
Study for Loie Fuller at the Folies Bergeres, 1893, Giclee Print
Study for Loie Fuller
at the Folies Bergeres, 1893,
Giclee Print

Mlle. Eglantine, Moulin Rouge, Toulouse-Lautrec Art Print
Mlle. Eglantine,
Art Print

La Goulue at the Moulin Rouge, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Giclee Print
La Goulue at the
Moulin Rouge,
Giclee Print
Marcelle Lender Dancing the Bolero in "Chilperic," 1895, Giclee Print
Marcelle Lender Dancing the Bolero in "Chilperic," 1895, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Giclee Print

Yvette Guilbert by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Giclee Print
Yvette Guilbert, Giclee Print

Toulouse-Lautrec made many portraits and caricatures of cabaret entertainer Yvette Guilbert, capturing her usual pose of standing very still in a bright yellow dress and long black gloves.

Aristide Bruant Dans Son Cabaret, Lithograph, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Aristide Bruant
Dans son Cabaret, Lithograph

Aristide Bruant (b. 5-6-1851; France - d. 2-10-1925)
was a cabaret singer, comedian, and nightclub owner who is best recognized as the man in the red scarf and black cape on the famous posters by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Acrobats in the Circus, Giclee Print, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Acrobats in the Circus,
Giclee Print

Lautrec did a series of circus drawing when he was confined to a private asylum for his alcoholism - when the doctors saw his work they released him as “no sane man could do such work”.

Etude de Chevaux, Giclee Print
Etude de Chevaux,
Giclee Print

Toulouse-Lautrec was a extraordinary at catching the gesture of his subjects - as in this case of a study of horses.

Woman at Her Toilette Study for "Elles", circa 1896, Giclee Print
Woman at
Her Toilette,
Study for "Elles",
circa 1896,
Giclee Print

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec illustrated intimate moments, in this case a woman sitting at her dressing table, or toilet in the original meaning of the French word.

Portrait of Vincent Van Gogh,, Giclee Print
Vincent Van Gogh,
by Toulouse-Lautrec,
Giclee Print

Lautrec's portrait of his friend Vincent Van Gogh was one of his few pastel drawings. He adapted the Impressionists, and Van Gogh's, short, hatched strokes in place of his usual long flowing strokes.

The Hangover, (Suzanne Valadon), Giclee Print
The Hangover,
(Suzanne Valadon),
Giclee Print

Suzanne Valadon
was a favorite model of Lautrec's as well as an artist. She may have had an affair with him.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec quotes ~

“I have tried to do what is true and not ideal.”

“Love is when the desire to be desired takes you so badly that you feel you could die of it.”

Books : Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre - Childhood illness and injuries steered Toulouse-Lautrec away from customary rural aristocratic avocations and toward a profession as an artist. He became a painter, draftsman, and lithographer whose work was immersed in famously hedonistic, fin-de-siècle Paris. In his hands, advertising posters were raised to a high art; he portrayed the nightlife of Montmartre-circuses, cafés, dance halls, and brothels-with clear, bold color and a certain seamy panache that is instantly recognizable as his. His much mythologized life has found its way into many biographies and into two feature-length movies called Moulin Rouge. (book description) 370 color plates of Toulouse-Lautrec and his contemporaries; companion book to exhibition of the same name at the National Gallery of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre - DVD

Toulouse-Lautrec: The Moulin Rouge and the City of Light - Grades 4-8 biography of French artist best known today for his vibrant and much-loved posters. Along with explaining the development of the poster medium, the book tells the moving tale of how Lautrec triumphed over a crippling childhood disease to become a popular artist in his day. The book is illustrated with gorgeous reproductions of his paintings, posters, and drawings, ranging from childhood sketches, to portraits of performers at the famous Moulin Rouge, to circus themes. Contemporary photographs of Lautrec and his friends bring the story to life. (book description)

The Drawings of Toulouse-Lautrec - Longstreet

Toulouse-Lautrec Art Activity Pack -

Color Your Own Toulouse-Lautrec Masterpieces - (Ages 9-12) Thirty of the great post-Impressionist's most famous works — including The Jockey; Jane Avril; and Moulin Rouge, La Goulue — fill this collection. Colorists can re-create or modify with their own hues masterpieces that capture lively scenes from circuses, dance halls, nightclubs, racetracks, and other spectacles. (book description)

Toulouse-Lautrec's The Circus: Thirty-Nine Crayon Drawings in Color - These kaleidoscopic visions from the big top offer a series of post-Impressionistic sideshows, courtesy of brilliant drawings by Toulouse-Lautrec. Masterpieces of composition and movement include “The Rearing Horse,” “The Jockey,” and “The Animal-trainer.” (book description)

Henry de Toulouse Lautrec, Woman as Myth: Woman as Myth (exhibition catalogue) -

The Letters of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - Collected here for the first time in a full edition, the letters of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec . . . all the known extant correspondence . . spanning his entire life . . . from the bright optimism of his conventional, aristocratic childhood, through the years when he was an avant-garde artist at the height of his powers, to his tragic deterioration, breakdown, and early death. The letters are rich in factual data, and contain numerous art historical revelations. English translation of French original.

Montmarte Note Card set (boxed) - From the mid-nineteenth century until the onset of the First World War, the steep hill called Montmartre was a magnet that attracted the full spectrum of Parisian society. Known for its windmills (moulins), the neighborhood had a reputation as a home to the artistic, the bohemian, and the risqué. The dancer La Goulue drew crowds to the open-air dance floor at Moulin de la Galette; the singer Aristide Bruant scandalized the more polite visitors to the Moulin Rouge with his scabrous social satire. Roughnecks preyed on the affluent and inobservant.


  • Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec site - biography from Albi to Montmartre and the Moulin-Rouge, paintings, lithographs, drawings, posters, photographs.

    Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre - National Gallery of Art

  • Lesson plan idea - design a Toulouse-Lautrec inspired poster for your own dance or music concert. Toulouse-Lautrec used
    • bold colors,
    • variety of lettering styles,
    • silhouettes.

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