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    TOULOUSE-LAUTREC, Henri de  

HENRI de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC ( b.1864 - d.1901) french painter and draftsman.

"I don't belong to any school. I work in my corner. I admire [Edgar] Degas," Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec succinctly told an interviewer. By all accounts isolated from mainstream society, he recorded Paris's underside, as often a brothel as a cabaret.

Born an aristocrat, he broke both legs in childhood; during his convalescence he turned to drawing and painting. In 1882 Toulouse-Lautrec began studying art in Paris, where he met Post-Impressionists like Vincent van Gogh. By 1885 he had a studio in Montmartre, the notorious centre of Parisian nightlife.

He exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris from 1889 and in Brussels. In 1891 his first posters brought him immediate recognition. Hospitalised for alcoholism in 1899, he continued making art and died in 1901. Toulouse-Lautrec loathed professional models; prostitutes and cabaret performers provided him with the natural, unconstrained movement he sought.

He painted quickly, frequently in thinned oil paint on unprimed cardboard, using its neutral tone as a design element and conveying action and atmosphere in a few economical strokes.

Japanese prints inspired his oblique angles of vision, near-abstract shapes, and calligraphic lines. In later years graphic works took precedence; his paintings were often studies for lithographs.

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