On the outskirts of Paris a working-class district called Montmarte, with its cabarets and dance halls, became a centre of the bohemian society of the city. Musicians, poets, writers, and artists used the cabarets as “laboratories” to exhibit their works, recite poems, sing songs. One of the regular frequenters of Montmarte was Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the creator of the illustrated poster form, which back then was a completely innovative genre. See the collection of his most famous cabaret posters, and don’t forget to visit DailyArt, our free mobile app today (download it for iOS/Android) where you will find something spectacular – Toulouse-Lautrec’s stain glass.
1. Jane Avril
Toulouse-Lautrec He was born in 1864 into a French noble family. Because of his health problems caused by traditional inbreeding, he was unable to do many physical activities, so he immersed himself in drawing. With child-sized legs, which didn’t grow, and a normal adult torso, he looked grotesquely, what he often highlighted in his works.
2. La Goulue
When in 1889 the cabaret Moulin Rouge was founded, Lautrec, commissioned by its owners, produced a series of advertising posters. In the first one, Moulin Rouge, La Guolue, he introduced viewers to a very famous dancer, La Goloue, who created the “French can-can”.
This poster is much simpler in terms of detail, but it also contains a deal of energy originated from the eye-catching contrast between warm (yellow, red, brown) and cool (blue, black) colours. To balance the model, Lautrec added another figure, the shadow-man with a cap, separated by a yellow line (similar to Japanese prints). A hat, a scarf and a hand with a stick, form perfect union and with an undefined shape of the body help to focus on the face, showing model’s personality.
4. May Milton
May Milton is very simple in design and what makes it really modern is the sharp contrast of colours. A delicate dancer, drawn on the white space, surrounded by a serpent of her dress, stands out of the deep blue background. A remarkable detail is a clown with a banjo prancing in the right bottom corner, a little prank from the artist. This poster was so interesting that Picasso incorporated it into his painting The Blue Room after Lautrec’s death.
5. La Troupe de Mademoiselle Eglantine
In his short career, Toulouse-Lautrec created more than three hundred fifty prints and thirty posters, as well as lithographed theater programs and covers for books and sheet music. He took up lithography at a high point in its history, when technical advances in color printing and new possibilities for large scale led to a proliferation of posters as well as prints for the new bourgeois collector.