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.