The musee de jour is the Toulouse-Lautrec Exhibit at the Grand Palais and it was simply amazing. This is probably one of the largest exhibitions of his work ever staged and it featured both his well-known as well as lesser known works. We wisely arrived early to avoid the crowds (something we’d recommend visiting any museum exhibition in Paris) and we were quickly admitted.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was a multi-talented artist, working in various mediums to include paints, pastels, and graphic poster printing. Much of his work centered on Monmarte and its brothels and the Moulin Rouge which opened in 1889 and he depicted scenes in a realistic manner but stripped of any glamour, simply showing the humanity underneath, and in the case of the brothel scenes, just how depressing it was. Below are some of his works that we found especially interesting:

This one was more of a study rather than a finished work but it’s fascinating in that he captures the individual in motion.

One of numerous examples of his work with posters.

This one is only a segment of a larger work (I wasn’t able to pull back and get the full work because of the crowds).

This one is especially fascinating with the sitter’s facial expression- it looks positively predatory which is no surprise, given the world Toulouse-Lautrec worked in. Overall, this was an excellent exhibition and provides a fascinating view of a multi-talented artist who portrayed a realistic slice of life while at the same time battling his own personal demons. This was a sobering visual experience and we’ll be thinking about this exhibition for quite some time.



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