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Toulouse-Lautrec paints an intriguing picture

Updated: 2023-01-13 08:54 ( China Daily )
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Ethereal Life in Paris: A World Tour Exhibition With Henri de Toulouse-Lautrecis the largest exhibition in China about the life and art of the French artist. [Photo provided to China Daily]

When he was alive, lithography became the medium of choice for printing larger and more colorful and exquisite works. The artist adopted the new art form to create posters for fashion and entertainment in Paris and rose to fame with a poster designed for the Moulin Rouge, a legendary entertainment venue.

Through a limestone plate, video projection, as well as a hands-on experience at the exhibition, visitors can learn more about lithography, which is the process of printing from the plain surface of a limestone or metal plate on which the image to be printed is ink-receptive and the blank area ink-repellent.

Inspired by the Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, he went on to create his own unique style that was defined by bright and bold color contrasts, unconventional composition, fast and expressive contour lines, dark silhouettes and simple figure shapes that highlighted the essential features.

During his career, he created a large number of commercial commissions, including posters, book covers and illustrations, stage decor design, and music album covers.

But whatever the subject, the main character of the work was always either a friend he knew well or his favorite singer and actor, says Liu Dejiang, a member of the curatorial team.

For example, some of the portrayed figures were renowned artists such as Aristide Bruant and Yvette Guilbert, both of whom were close friends of Toulouse-Lautrec.

"The human being was always the theme of his fascination," Liu says.

The exhibition runs through April 7.

If you go

Ethereal Life in Paris: A World Tour Exhibition With Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Dec 24-April 7

Aurora Museum, No 99 Fucheng Road, Lujiazui, Pudong district, Shanghai.


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