Toulouse-Lautrec: Master of the Belle Époque brings to life the vivid, late 19th century Parisian world of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, one of the greatest masters in the history of art. Running March 19 – June 12 (extended until July 17 by popular demand), the exhibition features more than 150 pieces from the largest, privately held collection of the artist’s graphic works, including posters, lithographs, sketches, illustrations and watercolors, together with videos and photographs.
This stunning and evocative exhibition immerses visitors in the avant-garde culture of 1890’s France through Toulouse-Lautrec’s illustrations of the period–an incredible array of works from his decade-long career, depicting the vivid spaces, subjects, and entertainments of Paris at the turn of the 20th century.
Among the most famous works featured in the exhibition are color lithographs (such as Jane Avril, 1893), advertising posters (such as The Passenger of Cabin 54, 1895, and Aristide Bruant in his Cabaret, 1893), pencil and ink drawings, commercial sketches and magazine illustrations (such as La Revue blanche, 1895) which have come to symbolize an age inextricably linked to the images produced by Viscount Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Toulouse-Lautrec’s upbringing in aristocratic French society stands in stark contrast to the Bohemian, anti-bourgeois world he depicted in his celebrated work–the non-conformist world in which he felt most at home. Stunted in his growth as a child and shunned from elite society, Toulouse-Lautrec used commercial media – most notably advertising – to help blur the lines that separated what was deemed “high” and “low” art of the time.
“Toulouse-Lautrec was an artist who observed and documented with profound psychological insight the personalities and facets of Parisian nightlife,” said Frank Verpoorten, Executive Director and Chief Curator of Naples Art. “He gave notoriety and dignity to the marginalized sub-culture of French society whom he depicted with sympathetic affection. As one of modernism’s most humane and influential artists, Toulouse-Lautrec was also a technical pioneer who was at the forefront of modern printmaking. His iconic portrayals of the splendid and decadent nightlife of Paris’ Belle Époque are forever imprinted on our collective imagination.”
After a number of detailed introductions to the artist and his period, the exhibition is divided into ten thematic sections, all relating to the artist and the context of late 19th-century Paris, during the exciting Belle Époque:
- Advertising Posters
- Aristide Bruant
- The Belle Époque
- Le Revue Blanche
- Le Rire
- The Café-Concerts
- The Legacy of Toulouse-Lautrec
- Yvette Guilbert
This exhibition is generously underwritten by Nizar and Valerie Ghoussaini, Eijk and Rose-Marie van Otterloo, Norman and Suzanne Cohn, and Don and Darlene DeMichele.