Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
(French, 1864–1901) was loosely associated with the Post-Impressionist movement, and best known for his extensive work in lithography and poster art. He moved to Paris in 1882, to study under academic painter Fernand Cormon
with fellow students Émile Bernard
(French, 1868–1941) and Vincent van Gogh
(Dutch 1853–1890). Toulouse-Lautrec set up a studio in Montmartre—an area of Paris infamous for its nightclubs—and began drawing its performers and the “low life” of Paris in the context of dance-halls, circuses, bars, and brothels.
Several posters feature the nightclub Moulin Rouge
, including Jane Avril Leaving the Moulin Rouge
(1892) and Au Moulin Rouge: la danse
(1890). There are numerous portraits of the most famous performers of the day, such as La Goulue
, Jane Avril
and Yvette Guilbert
. Toulouse-Lautrec experimented with a range of materials, such as oil, watercolor, and charcoal, but printmaking in particular allowed him to develop the flat planes of color and stylized shapes that made his posters ideal for modern media. Although Toulouse-Lautrec exhibited his work in numerous exhibitions, such as Les XX in Brussels, the Exposition du Petit Boulevard, and the Société des indépendants in Paris, his work was also published in magazines, advertisements, and theater programs.