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Toulouse-Lautrec et la Belle Époque: between anticonformism and provocation

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was surely the caroler of the French Belle Époque, the artist who has been able to illustrate Paris of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with realism and without lies. A delightful historical period of which the artist has outlined, throughout his work, the society with its excesses, exaltation and prosperity. The exhibition “Toulouse-Lautrec. La Belle Époque” was inaugurated at the AMO Arena Opera Museum – Palazzo Forti in Verona on April 1st and will remain open until September 3rd,  2017.

Toulouse-Lautrec and La Belle Époque: the exhibition

The exhibition Toulouse-Lautrec. La Belle Époque is an immersion in his eccentric, unconventional and provocative art but also in the colors and images of what Paris was at the end of the nineteenth century. An exhibition that includes about 170 works realized by the bohemian aristocrat, considered by many as the forerunner of modern advertising graphics. But the exhibition is not just that: in addition to the works, there is the will of the curators to investigate Toulouse-Lautrec’s inner turmoil between his torments and his moments of optimism about life, and also his commitment to emerge as a “free” artist despite his aristocratic origins. What comes out is an extremely interesting figure that is told and explained with elegance through these works.

The exhibition path, as we said, adheres to the frivolous spirit of La Belle Époque and describes it through some images that become the emblems of that historical period: dancers of Moulin Rouge with clients propped up the bar, circus performers and much more. A representation, a snapshot that brings up the spirit and the prosperity of a short period, from 1890 to 1914, that was a forge of inventions and discoveries. Among the most important works some advertising posters such as “Passenger of Cabin 54” of 1895 and “Aristide Bruant in his cabaret” of 1893, promotional graphics and illustrations such as “La Revue Blanche” of 1895 and finally lithographs in color, such as “Jane Avril” of 1893.

I paint things as they are. I do not comment. I register.” It’s a Toulouse-Lautrec’s quote that expresses the entire sense of this exhibition. This is an exhibit that rightfully includes him,   as well as the great masters, in history.

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