Art exhibition brings Bohemian Paris to Sweden
Feb 20, 2008, 16:55 GMT
Stockholm - Sweden is to showcase the bygone era of Parisian nightlife in the form of the colourful works by French post- impressionist painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) on Thursday.
Toulouse-Lautrec is best known for his colourful portrayal of 19th century Bohemian dancehalls, brothels and theatres in the French capital, particularly venues such as the Moulin Rouge cabaret in the red-light district of Pigalle where he spent a great deal of time.
The exhibition at the National Museum in Stockholm will include some 200 of his drawings, posters and oil paintings. Many are on loan from the Toulouse-Lautrec museum in Albi, southern France where the artist was born 1864.
'Somehow, everyone knows who the artist was,' the head of the museum Professor Solfrid Soderlind said on the eve of the opening Wednesday.
It is 40 years since the museum staged a similar presentation of work by the artist who 'really understood how to disseminate his images, he added.
The first room in the exhibition opens with a 'firework display of posters,' Curator Per Hedstrom said of the posters with their strong colours that were used by the emerging entertainment business to promote individual artists or shows.
The exhibition also features a poster Toulouse-Lautrec produced for the Moulin Rouge in 1891 that 'famous overnight,' Hedstrom said pointing to the 'bolder tougher style' of the work compared to that of contemporaries such as Jules Cheret.
Samples of Toulouse-Lautrec's portraits and paintings of restaurant interiors, cafes and family life are also among the works.
The museum has used mirrors, velvet sofas and red-coloured walls to recreate the interiors of brothels that the artist often visited, and that provided many of his models. It also highlighted how extensive prostitution was at the time.
Toulouse-Lautrec suffered from poor health and a bone disorder, possibly due to intermarriage. He broke both his thighbones in his teens that severely stunted his growth and made him disabled.
This is believed to have contributed to his sense of being an 'outsider,' just like many of the prostitutes and working women featured in his work, Hedstrom said.
Toulouse-Lautrec died in 1901 a few months short of his 37th birthday from complications attributed to alcoholism and syphilis, but created an extensive body of work including more than 700 paintings, 360 prints and thousands of drawings.
A separate exhibition where students from the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design display their work under the title 'To use Lautrec' will run in tandem with the main exhibition.
Both exhibitions run through May 25. More details on the internet: www.nationalmuseum.se