Henri Toulouse-Lautrec is regarded as one of the world’s most respected French Neo-Impressionists, and along with Gustav Klimt, one of the key figures in the Art Nouveau movement. His portrayals of late 19th Century Parisian life have yielded a collection of exciting, elegant and provocative paintings that have become some of the most sought after artworks on the market.
Heavily influenced by the Impressionists (such as Degas and Manet); in 1882, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec began studying art in Paris, where he met Post-Impressionists like Vincent van Gogh. During this time he immersed himself in the colourful and theatrical life of Paris in the 1800’s. He painted for the Moulin Rouge and other Parisian nightclubs capturing images of the working-class, cabaret and the circus. Terminally troubled by his poor health and short-stature, Toulouse-Lautrec was somewhat an outsider, unable to participate in the day-to-day pleasures of other young men his age. This position as an outsider led him to immerse himself in his art, and create personal and humanistic artworks that revealed the sadness and humour hidden beneath the surface of these decadent places.
Toulouse-Lautrec’s greatest contemporary impact in his twenty-year career was his series of thirty posters, which transformed the aesthetics of poster art. In a 2005 auction at Christie’s auction house, a new record was set when La blanchisseuse, an early painting of a young laundress, sold for US$22.4 million.