Monday, March 24, 2008

On Saturday night, there was a really terrible movie on PBS called "Moulin Rouge." Not the 1990's/2000's Baz Lurmann surrealist extravaganza, but a 1950's account of the life of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. It was pretty unwatchable, but it inspired me to look up information on the artist.

He is mainly known for the paintings of cabaret girls and the general mayhem of the Moulin Rouge. I was familiar with his most iconic images, which have been used in a lot of advertising. Even the opera I was just in used a Lautrec image on the poster. with just a little investigation, I found a trove of paintings that aren't usually seen. What I discovered was that these lesser known, less "commercial" works are really stunning. Toulouse-Lautrec spent a great deal of time in brothels, sometimes living in them for weeks at a time. This allowed him to paint much more intimate scenes of women that we usually see in 19th C art.

Here we have "Au Moulin Rouge: Les deux valseuses" (At the Moulin Rouge: Two women waltzing)

This one is aptly titled "In bed."

I'm kinda color blind, which probably influences my taste in art. I've always intense color saturation. The post-impressionists seem to do that really well, Van Gogh in particular. I'm really excited not only to find that in Lautrec's works, but also impressed with the capturing of tender moments in lives that probably had too few of them.


Maggie Jochild said...

Yeah, I too love his lesbian images, which seem to be culturally accurate for time and place. Real lives in them, even though they are not lives I would wish for myself and the women I know.

And fascinating about the color saturation thang.

kat said...

Yeah, I have trouble with subtlety when it comes to color, so bright and intense makes me happy.

I was really struck by those "real lives" you mention. Look at "In bed"...which other painters depict people with bed-head??

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