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Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) was a French painter, caricaturist, and printmaker.
Despite being born into the aristocracy, he preferred living in Montmartre, a bohemian working-class neighborhood in Paris. Immersing himself in the sordid nightlife of brothels and nightclubs, Toulouse-Lautrec became a familiar fixture in both. His work captured prostitutes, dance hall artists, and their customers in a strong graphic style influenced by Japanese prints.
For the opening of the Moulin Rouge club, he was commissioned to create a series of posters. The first was a spectacular six-foot tall advertisement displayed at the cabaret entrance, which launched his career as the premier poster artist in Paris. In bold, eye-catching shapes and colors, Moulin Rouge depicts the famous cabaret dancer, Louise Weber, known by her nickname “La Goulue” (the Glutton) kicking up her skirts to flash her knickers in a scandalous cancan.
Moulin Rouge: La Goulue, 1891
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
Lithograph, 74-13/16 x 45-7/8 in.
Metropolitan Museum of Art