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Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was 21 years old when he painted this (Femme assise nue) “sitting naked woman” in 1883 (picture 1); this could denote either a premature authority and perversity, or a premature artistic sensitivity, or both, but whatever, the great painter was already there, in this painting which is a symbol of the biggest part of the rest of his life; painting, of course, but also patronizing cabarets and brothels, treating prostitutes, who in the end, were one of his inspiration source.
Toulouse Lautrec had a very distinctive style, best expressed in his lithographies or “à plat” paintings and has a big place in world art history. Albi is now proud of her son, coming from a local gentry family, but it was not the same when he was living, and when the local petty bougeois knew of his life in Paris.
Toulouse Lautrec was the son of close cousins and had a congenital malformation, looked ugly, lived his adult life as alcoholic, and died of syphilis! Uff!
With all these “handicaps” he became a great artist with a big influence on Art Nouveau, and many modern posters owe to his drawing style.
On pictures 2 and 3, are two posters showing his sober style and personal use of colours. On picture 4 is a painting of his youth (Portrait of René Princeteau).
He is the short guy on picture 5.
The famous Toulouse Lautrec Museum, set in a medieval bishops palace (art, prostitutes, bishops. . . I like that sort of improbable ties. . . ), in the city centre, has been created in 1922 and renovated in 2002; some of his major works are there.
The website shows many paints, posters and drawings, if you want to have an idea.
Written Jan 16, 2009
Any news from La Pérouse?
There was no Internet at the end of the 18th century, neither VT, for getting online news from the travel world at that time. When Louis XVI, last of the Capet dynasty of kings of France asked this to the executioner upon walking up the scaffold where Dr Guillotin’s machine was ready to chop his head off, Jan 21st 1793, La Pérouse was probably dead since at least 3 years in the Pacific Ocean, near the island of Vanikoro.
La Pérouse, despite having grown up in Central France became an outstanding sailor and explorer, acknowledged (even by British researchers) as a “son of Cook”;
A link to an English page about La Pérouse: http://www.fullbooks.com/Laperouse.html, where you may learn more about this “son of Albi”, or this one, in French http://lemysterelaperouse.blogspot.com/. La Pérouse begins to be well known in France as, since a few years, a much publicised research is conducted, in the reefs of Vanikoro where the wrecks of the Astrolabe and the Boussole have been identified, and many remains have been brought back to surface.
Well, in Albi is a “Lycée La Pérouse”, a rue La Pérouse, associations with his name, etc. . . . . I like the unexpected, the people out of the norm, and smile, thinking about this great navigator, who has his origins far inland, had never seen a boat before the age of 20, but learned to know sailors, the winds, the oceans. . and became as skilled as the sailors from Bretagne or Great Britain (he trashed during an expedition in the Hudson Bay). But he did not spark off many navigation vocations in his hometown. . . . .
Updated Jan 16, 2009
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