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The artwork of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901), who seized the exuberant fin de siecle atmosphere of the Belle Epoque Paris, is currently on view in “The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and Posters” at The Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition — featuring over 100 examples of Toulouse-Lautrec’s avant-garde works — is drawn almost exclusively from MoMA’s permanent collection of posters, lithographs, printed ephemera and illustrated books.
Toulouse-Lautrec documents the cult of the celebrity and the rise of popular entertainment in his prints, posters and lithographs for magazines and journals. The exhibition is organized into five subjects: Parisian nightlife, celebrities, artists of the avant-garde, prostitutes and the daily pleasures of the upper class. The famous Moulin Rouge takes center stage in the section devoted to the rise of nightlife culture in France. Cafe concerts and dance halls come alive in Toulouse-Lautrec’s distinct style characterized by vibrant color and swift brushstrokes. His energetic approach arrests the star power of the famous actresses, singers, dancers and performers filling these venues — including dancer Loie Fuller and stage actress Jane Avril.