Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

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Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa or simply Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French pronunciation: [ɑ̃ʁi də tuluz loˈtʁɛk]) (24 November 1864 – 9 September 1901) was a French painter, printmaker, draughtsman, and illustrator, whose immersion in the colourful and theatrical life of fin de siècle Paris yielded an œuvre of exciting, elegant and provocative images of the modern and sometimes decadent life of those times. Toulouse-Lautrec is known along with Cézanne, Van Gogh, and Gauguin as one of the greatest painters of the Post-Impressionist period. In a 2005 auction at Christie's auction house a new record was set when "La blanchisseuse", an early painting of a young laundress, sold for $22.4 million U.S.[1]




Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa was born in Albi, Tarn in the Midi-Pyrénées région of France, the firstborn child of Comte Alphonse and Comtesse Adèle de Toulouse-Lautrec. He was therefore a member of an aristocratic family (descendants of the Counts of Toulouse and Lautrec and the Viscounts of Montfa, a village and commune of the Tarn department of southern France). A younger brother was also born to the family on 28 August 1867, but died the following year.

After the death of his brother his parents separated and a nanny took care of Henri through this time.[2] At the age of 8, Henri left to live with his mother in Paris. Here he started to draw his first sketches and caricatures on his exercise workbooks. The family quickly came to realise that Henri's talent lay with drawing and painting, and a friend of his father named Rene Princeteau visited sometimes to give informal lessons. Some of Henri's early paintings are of horses, a specialty of Princeteau, and something that he would later visit with his 'Circus Paintings'.[2][3]

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