Au Moulin Rouge, La Goulue et Sa Soeur by Toulouse-Lautrec

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La Goulue (The Glutton) was the stage name of Louise Weber (July 1866 – January 1929), a French can-can dancer who was a star of the Moulin Rouge, a popular cabaret in the Pigalle district of Paris, near Montmartre. Weber is with her sister at the cabaret. Only 175 examples of this hand-colored lithograph, printed in 1926 are in existence. It is signed and monogrammed by Toulouse-Lautrec. Louise Weber was one of the most famous dancer/performers at the Moulin Rouge. She would frequently leave the stage and eat the customers’ food.

Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa (November 1864 – September 1901), known as just Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, was a French painter (starting at age 8), print maker, draftsman, caricaturist, and illustrator whose immersion in the colorful and theatrical life of Paris in the late 19th century allowed him to produce a collection of enticing, elegant, and provocative images of the modern and decadent affairs of the times. He “documented” the Bohemian lifestyle. His original paintings have sold for over $22 million.

He was born into an aristocratic family, but his parents were interrelated which caused him to have many health problems, including stunted growth. He broke his right femur at age 13, then his left at age 14. Neither breaks completely healed and his legs stopped growing. His height stunted at 4’ 8”. He was in frequent pain and drank large amounts of alcohol to cope.

He moved to Paris with his mother then discovered Montmartre. It was his home for the next 20 years of his life. He frequented prostitutes and enjoyed painting them as, “A model is always a stuffed doll, but these women are alive.”

In 1889, the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret opened and he was commissioned to produce a series of posters advertising the cabaret. Other artists thought him compromised, but Henri had a stable and steady income and always had a seat reserved for him. He traveled to London on occasion, spoke English quite well and befriended and defended Oscar Wilde; even painted Wilde.

His alcoholism landed him into a sanatorium for three months where he drew circus portraits. His time with prostitutes resulted in him developing syphilis, and he died of complications of that and alcoholism at age 36. His artwork was promoted by his mother and his art dealer, Maurice Joyant, which is why many pieces were printed as lithographs and engravings long after his death in 1901. Most of his works are in the Musee Toulouse-Lautrec in Albi, which houses over 1000 works by the artist. It opened in 1922 when his mother donated the majority of the works.

In his short life, he is credited with having over 6,000 drawings, paintings, watercolors, prints and posters, some ceramic and stained glass. The image size is 6″ X 8″ in a matte and frame: 19″ x 21″.

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