Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Friday, 5 April 2013

Another Block-Buster Exhibition at the Gallery

We are lucky enough to live in the same city as our National Gallery.  Each year a special exhibition (usually of the old Masters) is staged over a period of three or four months. The most recent (it finished this week) was an exhibition of the works of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, an artist whose works I have always loved.

We avoided the gallery over Christmas and the school holidays not wanting to see the exhibition with a million other people.  Then the skinny one was in hospital and after that convalescing.  Last week we finally got there, just in the nick of time.  I would have been very sorry indeed to have missed the first large retrospective of Toulous-Lautrec's work to be shown here.

Photography within the Gallery is banned so the pictures are scanned from items I bought after the seeing the exhibition.  And I would have loved to have bought rather a lot more.

He died shortly before his thirty seventh birthday.  At one time I would have thought that he lived to be ancient and now mourn that his life was cut so short.

Despite being born into the French aristocracy he painted not the upper echelons of society but instead people from the dance halls, cabarets and brothels - mainly in the Monmartre district of Paris.  I love that he captured character in vivid snapshots and his use of  body language to enhance the images.  I also love that  he did not sanitise his subjects.  He had a reputation for making his subjects appear 'inelegant and ugly' but I don't agree at all.

Enough waffle from me.  Instead, I give you scans of some of the things which I couldn't resist buying - though I may never send them to anyone, hoarding them instead.  As always clicking on the pictures will enlarge (embiggen) them.


Justine Dieuhl:  woman in a garden


La Golue entering the Moulin Rouge



Tete-a-tete supper (in a private room - at the 'Rat Mort' (Portrait of Lucy Jourdan)

He also (which I hadn't known) sketched birds and animals, I think with a lot of charm.


He is renowned for his poster design, often creating posters advertising the work of his friends.

Divan Japonais

And something which I, a confirmed cat lover, couldn't resist.  Envelopes featuring his stunning black cats.  I have scanned both the front and the back of the envelopes.  Again, I may never send them to anyone.  And if I do, the recipients should know just how privileged they are.


81 comments:

  1. Lucky you to see the real thing! Thanks for sharing

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    1. Karen: It was a stunning exhibition.

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  2. Lovely! Thank you.
    At one time I had a poster of Le Chat Noir on my wall (along with other art posters), but I think it met the end of most posters! No matter, I have books.

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    1. dinahmow: The poster I had hanging on the wall (and still regret losing) was Dali's 'Swans Reflecting Elephants'. And yes, art books are a joy. An expensive (and worthwhile) joy.

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  3. How lovely! I do like his paintings and his black cats. My daughter bought a black cat bag that is really a musical box. So pretty.

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    1. ladyfi: I am intrigued at the concept of a black cat bag which is a musical box.

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  4. I have seen the bottom cat one before in a poster and have kept it in the back of my mind as something I would like to own one day.

    Don't the faces of those women tell such a story?

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    1. Birdie: Aren't they wonderful faces? For some reason I am particularly fond of Lucy Jourdan. Such a voluptuous looking woman.

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  5. I had the pleasure of viewing an exhibition of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec's etchings here some years ago and came away with a privileged sense of his personality. Such articulate work. A wonderful post, thanks!

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  6. An incredible artist who chose a rather shocking (at the time) series of subjects to portray. I often think that he must have felt incredibly lonely.....

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    1. Kath Lockett: He also illustrated the work of some of the novelists of the time (Zola, for one). It seems that writing about prostitutes was more acceptable than living amongst them and painting them. He may have been lonely, but it seems he had some very good friends too. And I was really pleased that he felt accepted enough by his family to go home to spend his last months with them. And his mother started a museum devoted to his work.

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  7. I so enjoy our excursions together, dear. :-)

    Aloha

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  8. I was familiar with his posters but not many of his paintings, lucky you to see them up close, the lady in blue really calls to me. I think the Chat is Noir ? may be the one I am familiar with.

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    1. Linda Starr: She is stunning isn't she. Another prostitute and in my eyes neither inelegant nor ugly.

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  9. To me his paintings seem more like caricatures than portraits. That doesn't mean I don't like them....

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    1. mybabyjohn/Delores: He does encapsulate a lot in a few strokes, but I don't think I would call them caricatures.

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  10. Gorgeous, Gorgeous work!! Such a shame that he died so young. Oh, to be young enough again to believe 37 is ancient... I,too, remember those days. I think I like the cat envelopes best. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Jennifer: I loved it all - I was very fond of his animal sketches - particularly the donkey and the swan. And the cat envelopes were always going to win my heart.

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  11. The faces tell the tale - so expressive and (to me) real. Love the black cats, too. :)

    I'm glad the skinny one is so much better - well enough to go to a museum! That lightens your load at home considerably, I imagine.

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    1. Lynn: They seemed very real to me too.

      His high and skinniness goes back into surgery in a couple of months. Fingers crossed that this one will be the last, and that I won't have to fight to extract information.

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  12. How fortunate you are to see such a magnificent exhibition and thank you so much for sharing some wonderful pics. I have never thought this artist was anything other than absolutely brilliant.
    It is great the two of you were able to attend together.

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    1. Mimsie: It was a wonderful outing - very tiring for both of us. And worth it. So very worth it.

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  13. These are simply wonderful, EC. And in between the lines I notice that the skinny one is still continuing to improve, and that's also wonderful. I think it's amazing that he accomplished so much in such a short life. His work is very singular and impressive, to my eye at least. Glad you didn't miss it! :-)

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    1. DJan: I am still amazed at the body of work he created in such a short time. His health was never good either.

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  14. I don't think I ever knew he died so young. A long time back in HS we went to a Lautrec exhibit in NYC. What marvelous stories in his paintings. The expressions, the colors. So unlike anything anyone was daring to do at the time. Genius. Thanks, EC.

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    1. Austan: Genius it was. I do love his work, and feel so privileged to have been able to see this exhibition.

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  15. Wow, 37?? What a shame. And it's then his work gets even more noticed. So odd. I love this type of art ---- any "realisim" or a moment in time captured. Even in photography I prefer it. This was beautiful...

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    1. Deb: It was amazing - and yes mostly I also prefer realism. And I loved the 'rawness' of his work.

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    1. Adam: It is, isn't it? Unique, beautiful, amazing.

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  17. Oh I love love the woman in the garden :)> Congrats on your choices :)>

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    1. unikorna: She was one of the first paintings I saw - and I fell in love.

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  18. My first introduction to Toulouse Lautrec was when I was a little girl and saw Moulin Rouge. I have been drawn (pardon the pun) to his artwork ever since. How fortunate you that you were able to see this exhibition before it left.

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    1. Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe: I would love to see Moulin Rouge. Someday. And yes, he seems to fall into the love/hate category. And I fall firmly into the former.

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  19. How nice that you have easy access to art of this caliber. I live in a rural town and have to travel to Vancouver, BC or Seattle to see really fine exhibits. Its one of those trade-offs we make when we choose to live in the country. I love the chat noir's! I think the artist must have had a great sense of humor and a love for common folk. Too bad he didn't live longer. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Debora: We lived in rural areas for many years, and lack of access to major art was a big drawback. Mind you, there were some big positives to that lifestyle too. He did seem to respond very, very well to the segments of the community that most ignored/used/disdained. And we benefit.

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  20. Dear EC, like you, I love the black cats! But I also found enchanting the donkey and the rooster on that one brochure. And--hint! hint!--I'd love to get a postcard!!!!! Peace.

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    1. Dee: I am so glad that you liked the animal stickers as I did.

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  21. I notice you haven't asked for my address, which is odd; how on earth will you send me those envelopes? Please post your email address so I can send it to you, STAT.

    :)

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    1. Ms. CrankyPants: My email address is in my profile - feel free to write to me. And yes, they are stunning envelopes.

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  22. You ARE indeed fortunate to live near the National Gallery - what a treat at your doorstep! I was not aware of this artist - but am of his work now that you've posted them here. That's someone who was born to give that gift to the world - especially prolific when you consider what a short life he had.

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    1. Barb: We try and get to the National Gallery regularly and ALWAYS for the big exhibitions. Toulouse-Lautrec was an amazing artist. I hope you get to see some more of his work.

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  23. very interesting to be reminded, thanks.

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  24. Wow! That second one has such attitude, with humor mixed into something more severe. I can see why you'd want to pick it up.

    In the title, did mean "Exibition" or "Exhibition"? This may be a colloquial thing.

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    1. John Wiswell: Re the title - dsylexic fingers and poor proof reading. Thank you - I have fixed it now.

      I wanted lots of the cards - but these spoke to me first. Humour, affection, skill - which made for an amazing mixture.

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  25. Most enjoyable; thank you! I haven't had any art education, so I enjoy catching up now.

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    1. jenny_o: I am glad you enjoyed it. There is another, very different exhibition coming up soon. I will post about it as well.

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  26. How wonderful! I'm so glad for you that you didn't miss it, EC. :)

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    1. Lee: Not as glad as I am. I would have been very hissy indeed if I had missed this one.

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  27. I have that Chat Noir poster framed! How sad that so many talented artists have died so young.

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    1. Riot Kitty: Chat Noir is stunning isn't it? And yes, very, very sad - for us, that we have lost so many too soon.

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  28. Oh, lucky, lucky you!
    I also have long admired Toulouse-Lautrec's work.

    As a child, I longed to go to the Moulin Rouge (and secretly, dance) after seeing his paintings in a library book, much to my mother's horror, lol.
    I've always been drawn to the bohemian life, and little Henri's art portrayed it so well.

    His work has such energy and life, capturing micro-moments in time.
    His subjects so... real.
    I love the expressions on their faces, some looking at the viewer with defiance, almost mocking them for staring. One uncomfortably feels as though they are part of the crowd and should look away - such impertinence!

    It's so wonderful to be in the presence of the masters' works when exhibitions such as this come to our country.

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    1. Vicki: He captured a whole new side of life (to that captured by other artists) and gave it to us. Such a gift. And yes, the major exhibitions are always a treat. Artists which I have read about, seen photographs of their works, and to be actually able to see the originals is awe-inpiring.

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    1. J Cosmo Newbery: Sadly - you are too late. It finished just after Easter.

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  30. How awesome that you saw it before it left! I love his black cats and didn't know he sketched birds either.

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    1. Laura Eno: Isn't it nice to learn things like that?

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  31. I'm so happy you got to see the exhibition. And envious, too. Toulouse-Lautrec is one of my favorites. When we lived in New York, I worked in a place that had several of his originals. I would sometimes spend my lunch hour getting lost in his work.

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    1. Carol Kilgore: It would be so easy to get lost in his work. There were a lot of people at the exhibition so it was difficult to spend as much time appreciating individual works as I would have liked...

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  32. I have loved the works of Toulouse-Lautrec for a very long time now. His paintings are special. So sad that his life wasn't a happy one - but perhaps then he wouldn't have created this work of his.

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    1. Carola Bartz: I knew he was unwell, but hadn't known he was unhappy. So very sad. And if his work came out of his unhappiness I do hope that he gained satisfaction from it. And a measure of happiness. The idea of being grateful that he was unhappy because it provided others with stunning beauty to admire doesn't sit at all comfortably with me.

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  33. That last one has hooked me, the black cat envelopes.

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    1. Strayer: Le Chat Noir is perhaps one of his best known posters and is simply stunning.

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  34. I saw this advertised and would have liked to go but just didn't get there, I like his work very much.
    Merle........

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    1. Merlesworld: Welcome. I am sorry you didn't get there - it was wonderful. Though mind you I have loved most of the big exhibitions.

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  35. I love his artwork. Glad you got to go!

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    1. Have Myelin?: So are we. It was a truly amazing exhibition to be lucky enough to see.

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  36. I am late in my response because I spent the weekend at Izzi's Trial, but I really must comment because I too am a lover of Touslouse-Lautrec ... and I didn't know he did animals either. I love his "Chat" ... such caracter and he looks very much like my Fonzi when he is trying to be inconspicuous looking out the window at all of his prospective prey (wishful thinking, I might add). The Chicago Art Museum has featured his work more than once and I have been lucky enough to attend. So glad you were able to go and thank you for your scanned images ... I love them.

    Andrea @ From The Sol

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    1. Andrea: How did Izzi's trial go? Really well I hope. It is such a treat always to see the originals of art works I have only seen in books. And to be educated about new things too.

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  37. Izzi did well ... but we were both exhausted by the end. It will take us a while to get back into shape. Our winter hung on this year so I haven't been able to start my gardening ... and that is my summer exercise program. I agree ... pictures are great, but there is nothing like the real thing. Enjoyed this post. Fun to learn more about a friend as well as about art.

    Andrea @ FRom The Sol

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    1. Andrea: I am very glad that Izzi did well. Gardening is my Autumn, Winter, Spring exercise program. It doesn't happen in summer - which is part of the reason I am so busy now.

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  38. Lautrec posters used to be popular in America, but I don't see them so much anymore, but I guess that posters in general aren't as popular as they used to be. I envy you your art gallery.

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    1. Snowbrush: I haven't seen Lautrec posters on sale for years here either. And yes, we are very lucky to have a major gallery so close to us.

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  39. The scans/photos are wonderful!! He is a fantastic artist. Vibrant, lively work. I did not know that he only lived to age 37... Thank you for posting!

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    1. Nicky HW: Not quite 37. Which is so very sad.

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  40. when i was a child i was for some reason fascinated by him too. when we went to the national gallery with my school class (i probably was about 9) the guide asked if we knew who'd painted a particular painting and i shouted toulouse-lautrec, i certainly made an impression that day, haha.

    fabulous envelopes! love the chat noir painting, though it's by theophile steinlen if i'm not mistaken. i have a pair of socks with that motif, haven't used them yet, shame on me.

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  41. and of course, it sounds like a grand exhibition (too occupied with talking about myself to say that, oh dear;)

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  42. Pia K: How right you are about Le Chat Noir - thank you. Something learned today - and yes, it was a wonderful exhibition.

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