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Toulouse-Lautrec Illustrates the Belle Epoque

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901) captured the heart of Parisian nightlife in dynamic cabaret and café-concert scenes inspired by the city’s burgeoning entertainment district. A frequent visitor to lively hotspots in Montmartre, like the Chat Noir, Mirliton, and Moulin Rouge, his record of local amusements fashioned a portrait of modern Parisian life. Toulouse-Lautrec’s arrival in the City of Light coincided with a resurgence in printmaking, and his experiments with lithography revolutionized the field.

For the first time in the US, Toulouse-Lautrec Illustrates the Belle Époquepresents one of the foremost collections of the artist’s lithographs and posters. Drawn from the artist’s most prolific years (1891–1899), these iconic images and rarely exhibited unique proofs provide insight into his innovative and complex printmaking process. Encompassing nearly 100 examples of incomparable quality and color, these prints celebrate the premier performers of the belle époque — Aristide Bruant, Marcelle Lender, Cha-U-Kao and others — cleverly caricatured through Toulouse-Lautrec’s perceptive skills of observation and transformation. His modern aesthetic and sharp wit immortalized Paris’s celebrity elite, embraced bohemian culture, and fueled the public imagination.