ARISTIDE by Bob Kessel
apres Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
In Bob Kessel’s Art History series, he has done his own interpretation on many famous artists, including Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Bob Kessel creates limited edition art prints and originals. Contact the artist for prices and availability.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was born on November 24, 1864, in southern France. Son and heir of Comte Alphonse-Charles de Toulouse, he was the last in the line of an aristocratic family that dated back a thousand years. Today, the family estate houses the Musée Toulouse-Lautrec. As a child, Henri was weak and often sick. But by the time he was ten years old he had begun to draw and paint. At age twelve Toulouse-Lautrec broke his left leg and at fourteen his right leg. The bones did not heal properly, and his legs ceased to grow. He reached maturity with a body trunk of normal size but with abnormally short legs. He was only 4 1/2 feet (1.5 meters) tall.
Deprived of the physical life that a normal body would have permitted, Toulouse-Lautrec lived completely for his art. He dwelt in the Montmartre section of Paris, the center of the cabaret entertainment and bohemian life that he loved to depict in his work. Dance halls and nightclubs, racetracks, prostitutes – all these were memorialized on canvas or made into lithographs.
Toulouse-Lautrec was very much an active part of this community. He would sit at a crowded nightclub table, laughing and drinking, meanwhile making swift sketches. The next morning in his studio he would expand the sketches into brightly colored paintings.
In order to join in the Montmartre life – as well as to fortify himself against the crowd’s ridicule of his appearance – Toulouse-Lautrec began to drink heavily. By the 1890s the drinking was affecting his health. He was confined first to a sanatorium and then to his mother’s care at home, but he could not stay away from alcohol. Toulouse-Lautrec died on September 9, 1901, at the family chateau of Malrome.
Bob Kessel’s interpretation of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is witty and modern. His style is art nouveau in its most modern form. His influence from many great artists and styles in the past, along with the new media he uses, creates an eye-catching new genre.