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Oui, oui Henri: A taste of France at the High

New exhibit to feature work by Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Gaugin

POSTED: January 27, 2011 12:30 a.m.
/For The Times

"Toulouse-Lautrec & Friends: The Irene and Howard Stein Collection" will be on display at The High Museum of Art until May.

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The works of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, an artist born in France in 1864 and immortalized in films including 1952's "Moulin Rouge," and the 2001 version of the film of the same name, will be featured in an exhibit opening Saturday at Atlanta's High Museum of Art.

"Toulouse-Lautrec & Friends: The Irene and Howard Stein Collection," on view at the museum through May 1, includes many lithographs by Lautrec, as well as sculptures, drawings and paintings by other French artists.

Lautrec, whose legs were permanently stunted when he broke them as a child, lived to be only 30 years old, but created a body of well-recognized lithographs that often focused on his bohemian friends in Montmartre, many of whom frequented the infamous Moulin Rouge night club.

"A lot of his subjects were involved in (Le Moulin Rouge) and kind of in that area in general," said Nicole Taylor, assistant manager of public relations at the High.

"It's definitely taken from the kind of seedier area of Paris," she added.

During his life, Lautrec's large advertising posters were seen throughout Paris, with smaller versions available in galleries.

He was known for his ability to capture a complex movement and simplify it, reducing the human body to a graphic sign.

His works often symbolize Paris at the turn of the century; the city's "Belle Époque," or "beautiful period," a time associated with opulence, grandeur and excess.

"The Clowness at the Moulin Rouge," a stand-out work that showcases Lautrec's technical ability, features contortionist Cha-u-Kao, one of several friends he included in his works, dancing at the Moulin Rouge.

The piece, like many, is a window into Lautrec's life, as he spent much of it in the cabarets of Montmartre.

Taylor said the exhibit includes 47 works that are recent gifts by the Steins, "one of the largest gifts that the High has ever received."

Other artists featured in the exhibit include Edgar Degas, Paul Gaugin and Charles Cordier.



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