Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) : A French painter and lithographer, Toulouse-Lautrec was a leading postimpressionist artist. He frequented bars, caberets and whorehouses, painting those with near-expressionist zeal. He used big, garish colors and the flat images of a postermaker (his day job). His paintings were also probably influenced by the absinthe he so dearly loved.

Henri-Marie-Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec Monfa was born on November 24, 1864 in Albi, France. He was born with pyknodysostasis, a disease that stunted his growth and made his bones very fragile. He grew to be only four and a half feet tall. Toulouse became a famous Bohemian painter in Paris, and his paintings were concerned with people like circus performers and prostitutes and night clubs like the Moulin Rouge. He died of alcoholism in 1901.

Henri de Toulouse- Lautrec was a Parisian artist during the art nouveau era. Born in Albi, France to aristocracy, he moved to Paris to pursue art. He is known for his posters of nightclubs, singer, and dancers in the Montmartre district of Paris. Toulouse-Lautrec is said to have raised commercial art to the level of fine art.

When he was a child, Toulouse-Lautrec broke both of his legs. A genetic bone disease kept his legs from fully healing. As a result, Toulouse-Lautrec was crippled at the age of twelve when he had his first accident and his legs ceased to grow. However, as a result of being crippled, Toulouse-Lautrec pursued art instead of more active activities of the aristocracy, such as hunting and riding.

Toulouse-Lautrec was greatly influenced by Japanese art of that time. Japanese artists were known for their asymmetrical composition and flat use of color. Toulouse-Lautrec’s style was new and innovative to the Bohemians in Montmartre. This is what won him great fame as a Bohemian artist. He exhibited in avant-garde exhibitions such as the Salon de Independents in Paris.

Toulouse-Lautrec died in 1901 at the age of thirty-six. His habits of alcohol and sex eventually overcame him and he died in his home of alcoholism and syphilis. He is remembered today as the Bohemian artist who started the commercial art revolution, opening the door for illustrators and designers to enter into the fine art world. His posters continue to influence artists even today.

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