Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa was born in an aristocratic family in Albi (south of France), on November 24, 1864. Henri had a bad health and so he started drawing and painting at young age. At age 12 Henri broke his left leg and at age 14 he broke his right leg as well. The bones in his leg never healed properly and his legs stopped growing, while the rest of his body continued their natural growing process. It is obvious that this problem was mentally very difficult to cope with for Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
TOULOUSE-LAUTREC AS AN ARTIST
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec went to Paris in 1882, where he decided to live in Montmartre. He soon emerged into this world and became a part of the bohemian community. In the evenings, he could be seen chatting with friends and drinking, and at the same time drawing sketches on paper. Then the next day, he would transform the sketches into paintings and lithographs.
Toulouse-Lautrec exhibited his first works in the cafes and restaurants of Montmartre. His paintings soon attracted general attention and he received his first commissions. As his fame grew, so did his consumption of alcohol. But he managed to keep up his passion for painting and printmaking at the same time. He had a few exhibitions in galleries, acquired general recognition and was flooded with commissions.
Toulouse-Lautrec, many of whose works are in the museum that bears his name in Albi, was a prolific creator. His oeuvre includes great numbers of paintings, drawings, etchings, lithographs, and posters, as well as illustrations for various contemporary newspapers.
TOULOUSE-LAUTREC'S LAST YEARS
His alcoholic dissipation, however, eventually brought on a paralytic stroke, to which he succumbed at Malromé, one of his family's estates. A few days after this fatal stroke, on August 20, 1897, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec died at age 36.
Since then his paintings and posters--particularly the 'Moulin Rouge' group—have been in great demand and bring high prices at auctions and art sales.