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Friday, 21 May 2010

Exhibition - High Kicks and Low Life: Toulouse Lautrec - Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Star rating 6/10

Henri de Toulouse Lautrec was born in 1864, and lived for much of his life until his death in 1901 in Paris. This interesting exhibition shows his depictions of the Montmartre district of the city, distinct with its bars, cafes and music halls.

His prints and posters remain popular to this day, with his depiction of prostitutes in everyday rather than erotic poses. His pictures of one woman having her hair combed by another; and one with her breakfast being brought to her in bed by the madame, with her tousled hair showing after a hard nights work, are both very sympathetic images. His ‘Elles – The Seated Clownesse’, is lovely in shades of pink and yellow, whilst she look sad and removed from the people around her.

But my favourites are the vivid scenes of the music halls, with the erotic can can dancers, and glamour of the music hall. Divan Japona’s 1893 picture of a sophisticated woman in black sitting at a cafĂ© amongst an orchestra playing behind here is very evocative. And his wealthy couple in a box at the theatre are lovely. So overall an interesting if not mind blowingly beautiful collection.

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