Mattia Jona La Portantina +39 02 8053315

(ALBI 1864 - PARIS 1901)

Lithograph, from the portfolio Le Café Concert, 1893; published by L'Estampe Originale. The edition was of 550. Delteil 37; Adhémar 37; Adriani 26; Wittrock 27. To the composition 267 x 185 mm. The full sheet measuring 433 x 322.

Price: 1.200,00 €

Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec Monfa was born into an aristocratic family in the South of France. Raised in an atmosphere of privilege, he loved animals, and owned and rode horses. By age 8, it was clear that he suffered from a congenital illness that weakened his bones. Unable to participate in the equestrian pursuits and other pleasures afforded other aristocrats of his age and station, Toulouse-Lautrec took art lessons with a local instructor, who assisted him in channeling his passion for horses into drawing and painting.
Toulouse-Lautrec was an aristocrat, dwarf, and party animal. His favorite pursuits were dressing up (geisha girl and clown get-ups were among his more memorable party outfits) and frequenting Parisian brothels, where he was a V.I.P. Like insects trapped in amber, his paintings, drawings and of course his famous posters preserve the swirl of energy, mix of classes and cultures, and the highs and lows of urban life in 19th-century Paris.
Toulouse-Lautrec was the first artist to elevate advertising to the status of a fine art. This is an extraordinary shift in the history of art, obliterating the boundaries between high (painting, drawing, sculpture) and low (posters, logos and other forms of visual culture) art. Acknowledging that some of his greatest masterpieces were posters for nightclubs does not in any way diminish their value. On the contrary, it set the gold standard for great commercial artists from Alphonse Mucha to Andy Warhol.
In contrast to nearly all of the other artists in his circle, Toulouse-Lautrec had no trouble making a living. This is chiefly because Parisian business owners realized they could make money from his unique, modern vision. In contrast to artists who worked for private collectors, galleries or the government, he worked for the entertainment business, where selling drinks and tickets was the bottom line.