Toulouse-Lautrec: The Solitude of 'La Vie Moderne'

Probably the best-known artist of fin-de-siecle Paris, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) excelled in producing works of remarkable visual richness. Included in this exhibition of fifteen paintings and lithographs is the artist's lyrical painting, "At the Circus Fernando, Rider on a White Horse," a portraits of the model Carmen Gaudin and the prostitute Mireille, and his famous suite of lithographs of brothel interiors, "Elles," a rare complete set.

Lautrec was a brilliant draftsman who took his subject matter entirely from the reality of comtemporary life, or la vie moderne, which had been extolled in the writings of Baudelaire and Zola, and exemplified in the paintings of artists such as Manet and Degas. Artists were encouraged to leave their isolated studios and study modern society's customs. Lautrec's formal portraits, as well as his candid paintings of cafe society, the circus, and the brothels exude this direct experience of contemporary life.