Toulouse-Lautrec & The Belle Époque

Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland FL, USA
February 13, 2021 - May 23, 2021

Toulouse-Lautrec’s Vivid World Comes Alive at the Polk Museum of Art!

The Polk Museum of Art is thrilled to announce its newest — and largest ever — exhibition, “Toulouse-Lautrec and the Belle Époque,” opening February 13, 2021. Featuring more than 225 works, the exhibition offers visitors remarkable insider access to the world of Post-Impressionist artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, one of the greatest masters in the history of art.

This large-scale exhibition aims to transport audiences back to France and into the so-called “Belle Époque,” or “Beautiful Age,” of late 19th century Paris. With its hundreds of works displayed throughout the Museum, this extraordinary exhibition will immerse visitors fully in the avant-garde culture of 1890s France through Toulouse-Lautrec’s illustrations of the period. Proclaimed as one of the greatest modern masters, Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) created an incredible array of works over the course of a decade-long career, from paintings and drawings to his most famous and recognizable prints, posters, and advertisements. In his art, Toulouse-Lautrec depicted the vivid world of Paris at the turn of the 20th century, recreating the spaces, subjects, and entertainments he loved most.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) is one of the most familiar names of the Post-Impressionist era, and his depictions of life in fin-de-siècle Paris remain among the most popular and recognizable today. Indeed, Toulouse-Lautrec’s own biographical renown may be outshone only by the renown of his most reproduced imagery, namely his posters representing the world of bohemian Parisian nightlife in the final decade of the 19th century, the so-called Belle Époque. If you think of the Moulin Rouge or the dance hall as the places to be in 1890s Paris, it is because Toulouse-Lautrec’s famed drawings and lithographic posters make us certain of it.

A master painter, printer, and illustrator — a true exemplar of the craft of draftsmanship — Toulouse-Lautrec saw no line between fine and commercial art. From his paintings and drawings to the advertisements he was commissioned to produce to entice customers to his own favorite nightspots, in his pictures of the Belle Époque Toulouse-Lautrec created the timeless scenes of France’s cabarets, concert halls, and theaters we still cherish today.

“Toulouse-Lautrec and the Belle Époque” will be on view in the Museum’s Dorothy Jenkins Gallery, Gallery II, and Hollis Gallery from February 13 to May 23, 2021. The exhibition comes from the collection of Herakleidon Museum, Athena, Greece and is offered through PAN Art Connections, Inc. This exhibition is supported by the Museum’s Affiliate Partner, Florida Southern College, Exhibition Partner, the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation, and Exhibition Sponsors: M. Craig Massey Exhibition Fund, R. Bruce and Melissa Rich Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Visit Central Florida, Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, City of Lakeland, and the Mayor’s Council on the Arts.

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