thru March 22:
“The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and Posters”
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
MoMA, 11 W53rd St., NYC
This exhibition, drawn almost exclusively from The Museum of Modern Art’s collection of posters, lithographs, printed ephemera, and illustrated books, is the first MoMA exhibition in 30 years dedicated solely to Lautrec, and features over 100 examples of the best-known works created during the apex of his career. Organized thematically, the exhibition explores five subjects that together create a portrait of Lautrec’s Paris. A section devoted to café-concerts and dance halls examines the rise of nightlife culture in France through the depiction of famous venues, including the celebrated Moulin Rouge. Another focuses on the actresses, singers, dancers, and performers who sparked the artist’s imagination and served as his muses, including Yvette Guilbert, acclaimed dancer Loie Fuller, and close friend Jane Avril. Lautrec’s sympathetic images of women are evident in a group of works that includes his landmark Elles portfolio, depicting prostitutes during nonworking hours, in quiet moments of introspection. Lautrec’s role in Paris’s artistic community is explored in a section devoted to his creative circle, highlighting designs for song sheets for the popular music that flooded Paris’s café-concerts, programs for the avant-garde theatrical productions that he attended, and his contributions to magazines and intellectual reviews. A final section looks at the pleasures of the capital, from horse racing at Longchamp and promenading on the Bois de Boulogne, to the new fad for ice skating and the enduring appeal of Paris’s culture of gastronomy.