Paintings by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Despite physical limitations caused by a childhood accident, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's artistic gifts were nearly limitless. His interest -- and deep involvement in -- the Parisian nightlife made him one of the foremost chroniclers of the French fin de siècle.

Though many critics would classify Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec as a post-Impressionist, Toulouse-Lautrec shared many of the same interests as the traditional Impressionists. Paintings such as At the Moulin Rouge centered around the urban lifestyle, one of the most prominent themes in Impressionist painting.

  • Divan Japonais: In 1893, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec designed a poster for the Cafe de Divan Japonais. Learn about Henri de Toulouse Lautrec's Divan Japonais.
  • At the Moulin Rouge: Toulouse Lautrec's At the Moulin Rouge is a good example of the Impressionist's interest in Parisian nightlife. Find out about At the Moulin Rouge, by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

On the next page we'll examine Henri Toulouse-Lautrec's Divan Japonais, one of many posters the Impressionist designed for Parisian nightspots.

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

Divan Japonais by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Divan Japonais by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (oil on canvas, Museum of Fine Arts.
Divan Japonais by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (oil on canvas, Museum of Fine Arts.

Divan Japonais by Impressionist artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was painted in 1893. An ardent observer of the contemporary scene, Toulouse-Lautrec designed many lithographed posters advertising Parisian nightlife. The Café du Divan Japonais featured exotic touches such as bamboo furniture and paper lanterns. Toulouse-Lautrec responded to the fanciful atmosphere by incorporating Japanese visual elements in Divan Japonais, such as asymmetrical composition and broad areas of color.

On the next page, see an Impressionist painting by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec that offers a look into Paris' Moulin Rouge.

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

At the Moulin Rouge by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's At the Moulin Rouge (oil on canvas, 48-7/16x55-1/2 inches) is housed at The Art Institute of Chicago.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's At the Moulin Rouge (oil on canvas, 48-7/16x55-1/2 inches) is housed at The Art Institute of Chicago.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec completed At the Moulin Rouge between the years 1892-1895. Toulouse-Lautrec painted many of the subjects favored by the Impressionists, including the circus and the lively cabaret scene.

Like Edgar Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec employed oblique axes and cut figures to express the sense of immediacy and action. The balcony rail in the left foreground of At the Moulin Rouge slices off the corner of the picture plane, and the figure at the right, whose white face powder gleams under the gaslight, appears to stride right out of the composition.

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Debra N. Mancoff is an art historian and lecturer and the author of numerous books on nineteenth-century European and American paintings. She is a scholar in residence at the Newberry Library.