An early and virtuoso self-portrait of a great artist: a young man is seen standing somewhat apprehensively looking into a mirror (left). The en- inventory of his feudal family home, at once costly and irrelevant, has been built up like a barricade between himself and his image - and the artist himself appears to have become part of the still-life. The light touches only his back and the nape of his neck. His face is in shadow. It is as if the young painter were reluctant to show it to the viewer or to himself, and the message is clearly one of self-doubt and scepticism: Is painting really my vocation? Will I make it? What abot my body? Why have I been so terribly cursed with withered legs and a face that grows ever more ugly, with thick red lips and a weak chin which a first growth of beard is at last beginning to give some cover to? the man who posed these questions in his painting stood on the threshold of a unique career that was to establish him among the major artists in history. His name was Henri de Tolouse-Lautrec. And he was about to make his great leap from a cloistered dynastic background to the easy-going world of Parisian pleasures.
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The Prince of Pigalle: In pursuit of pleasure in the Belle epoque Today, the painter and graphic artist Henri Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) is considered as one of the most inspired portrayers of human figures. This physically handicapped scion of the old French nobility was fascinated by life around Montmartre, whose cafes, cabarets, dance halls, and bordellos presented him with the "theater of life." More than any other artist, Toulouse-Lautrec captured the Belle epoque's pursuit of fleeting pleasure: directly and without flattery, his paintings, lithographs, and posters offer a masterly and timeless image of the age. About the Series: Each book in TASCHEN's Basic Art series features: a detailed chronological summary of the life and oeuvre of the artist, covering his or her cultural and historical importance a concise biography approximately 100 illustrations with explanatory captionsAbout the Author:
The author: Matthias Arnold, born in 1947, wrote his doctoral thesis on Vincent van Gogh. He lives in Munich and works as a freelance writer.
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