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Posts Tagged ‘Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’

This post comes to us from Jenny Haskins, Curatorial Intern.

Louis Comfort Tiffany, Au Nouveau Cirque: Papa Chrysanthéme, after Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Stained-glass window, 1894-5, Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Art Nouveau (or “New Art”) was a brief, but significant movement occurring in the late-19th to early-20th centuries. It had a powerful influence on other movements, including Art Deco and Modernism. The spirit of Art Nouveau will visit the New Britain Museum’s McKernan Gallery  when The Brilliance of Louis Comfort Tiffany: Painter and Craftsman replaces Toulouse-Lautrec and His World. The two exhibitions are appropriately sequenced since Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s (1864–1901) highly decorative lithographs are considered to have given way to the Art Nouveau movement, though the exact initial source is arguable and vague. Although I am sad to know that the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit will eventually come to an end, it is exciting that the work of an artist who was a major influence on the American Art Nouveau movement will be taking its place.

It is easy to recognize Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933) as essential to the flourishing of American decorative arts during the turn of the 20th century. He was the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany (1812–1902), the founder of one of my favorite jewelers, Tiffany & Co. Although Tiffany worked closely with his father’s renowned company (he became the first design director of the company upon his father’s passing), his primary interest remained in art. Tiffany was a successful paintiner, not to mention a prolific designer of stained glass, lamps, mosaics, metal work, ceramics and jewelry. In 1885, he created Tiffany Studios, a glass manufacturing and design company that made lamps, stained glass windows and vases with the assistance of skillful designers and artisans. It wasn’t long before Tiffany became an international sensation.

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This post comes to us from Sarah Churchill , Curatorial Intern.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)

One of the perks of interning here at the New Britain Museum of American Art is access to the museum’s excellent programming, including last month’s symposium “Toulouse-Lautrec & His World Under the Microscope.”  Art historian Nancy Noble presented thought-provoking insights into the inhabitants of Lautrec’s world, while Rhea Higgins focused her attentions upon the many parallels between Lautrec and his contemporary Edgar Degas. Degas, aware of the so-called “parallels” famously said of Lautrec, “He wears my clothes but cuts them down to his size.” Ouch.

I was struck also by the comparison drawn by Noble between Lautrec and Andy Warhol. Both were printmakers and savvy, self-conscious marketers who worked tirelessly to elevate the genre of commercial art. Both suffered crippling disabilities and terrible isolation. This connection is probably the most poignant, for it was the experience of isolation that formed, not only the love of art in each of them, but also the sadness and longing that underscores their work. More fascinating still is their shared interest in the popular culture of their day. It would not at all seem strange to picture the two, side-by-side, holding court at Studio 54. Both Lautrec and Warhol blurred the line between life and art to the point that it can be tough to tell which is the reflection…

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This post come to us from Alyssa Speranza, Curatorial Intern.

If you haven’t already visited Toulouse-Lautrec & His World, then you should! If you have already seen it, you may have wondered, What is a lithograph? Why was it Toulouse-Lautrec’s medium of choice? And how did he print with so many colors?

Lithography is a method of printmaking that involves the use of limestone – the word “lithography” quite literally means “to write with stone.” But the question what is a lithograph can only be truly answered through observation or hands on experience. This video produced by the Museum of Modern Art provides a concise demonstration.
http://www.moma.org/explore/multimedia/videos/151/939

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This post comes to us from Ronald Abbe, Museum Docent.

Jane Avril, 1895. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901). Color lithograph. Herakleidon Museum, Athens, Greece

Jane Avril, 1895. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901). Color lithograph. Herakleidon Museum, Athens, Greece

Toulouse Lautrec has come to the New Britain Museum of American Art. Is he an alien presence or a comfortable fit?  The answer is obvious when one views the connections between his art and the work that emulates it elsewhere in the Museum.

Lautrec was an innovator.  He tried to find a way to capture a moment in the most dramatic way possible.  His cropped compositions make his scenes seem to be glimpsed in passing.  The asymmetry of his arrangements and the daring exaggeration of figures and faces make his scenes come alive.  These effects were startling in the late l9th century but so were photography and the new printing process of lithography.  Quickly, the public found his poster lithographs exciting, and soon there was a craving in Paris for all things new.

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