In our imaginings of Paris, painter and graphic artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec has no small role to play. In his prints, posters, paintings, and drawings, the artist immortalized the city’s Belle Époque nightlife and put the northern neighborhood of Montmartre on the global map of creative-hedonist hotspots. The son of old French nobility, Toulouse-Lautrec seems to have been drawn early on to visions of a demimonde, centering his attention on the dance halls, cabarets, and brothels of Montmartre and adopting famed dancers and singers as his subjects, most notably Jane Avril. His works include both lively performance scenes and quiet, tender "after-hours" portraits such as The Sofa and In Bed. Stylistically, he mastered both bold graphics, as celebrated in his promotional posters of Jane Avril, and a loose yet evocative sketchwork.
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