Monday, September 25, 2017

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was a French artist and illustrator that lived from 1864 to 1901. He grew up disabled, being dwarfed at the young age of 16. This, however, led to his parents allowing him to study art and build upon the natural talent he innately demonstrated. Henri went on to create a wide variety of pieces, from drawings, painting, and sketches to book covers, advertisements, and posters.

Henri utilized many different styles and techniques in his works such as repetition, drawing a subject over and over again, painting on cardboard, and sketching outlines in bright blue-green oil to give his finished pieces a "sketchy quality". He used anything from charcoal, oils, and pastels to inks and watercolors. However, Henri approached each piece with stylistic choices he believed would help him achieve his desired effect.

Moulin Rouge: La Goulue (1891)

Henri enjoyed drawing artists and dancers, and one of his more famous works featured La Goule from the Moulin Rouge, an establishment he frequented during his time as an artist. He used a combination of text and bold colors, balanced by a great use of negative space to create an iconic poster. This poster went through many sketches and renditions, with Henri going to watch La Goulue many times before the poster was complete.

Confetti (1894)

Henri's work "Confetti" features singer and actress Jeanna Granier and was commissioned by J. & E. Bella, London. This is another piece that beautifully captures Henri's use of line quality. In this lithograph, he uses simple, deep colors, such as the orange hair, to emphasize the main subject. He also balances the composition well by including the hands in the upper left corner and sprinkling confetti across the other empty spaces.

Woman before a Mirror (1897)

Henri was fascinated by the female body and sought to represent it in its natural form. He would often draw women doing every-day tasks, rather than posing in artificial poses. His work "Woman before a Mirror," to me, is a commentary on the female image with the subject of the painting looking in a mirror at her true, unaltered form. Henri used great contrast in color to draw attention to his subject and highlight the meaning of the piece.

I chose this artist because I appreciate his application of art to posters and other advertisements. While art is a stand-alone entity, my engineering brain seeks to find the functionality in everything. Art, in this respect, can function spectacularly to persuade people to purchase something, read a certain book, or watch a certain show. Beyond this point, I chose this artist because I like his use of line quality with simple colors to create powerful narratives in his posters. I would like to master line quality like he has so I can apply it to the designs I develope as an engineer.

Frey, Julia B"Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri de." Grove Art OnlineOxford Art OnlineOxford University PressWeb25 Sep. 2017.<>.
"TOULOUSE-LAUTREC, Henri de." Benezit Dictionary of ArtistsOxford Art OnlineOxford University PressWeb26 Sep. 2017.<>.

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