TOULOUSE LAUTREC AND LA VIE MODERNE: PARIS 1880-1910 celebrates the avant-garde artists who were living and working at the center of the artistic and cultural scene in Paris at the turn of the last century, or “La Belle Époque” as it was known by its contemporaries.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Édouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard, Juan Gris, Mary Cassatt, and many others offered new visions for life and society during this era, popularly coined the fin de siècle, while battling the formality of the conservative Academic art standards of the time. Like the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists before them, the Nabis, Incohérents, Symbolists, and Naturalists sought to reinterpret their world in depictions of modern Parisian life and its café-concerts, cabarets, circuses, and brothels; street scenes and landscapes; and intimate domestic interiors. An idea brought to life in a small café amidst the Parisian Latin Quarter, these artists were passionate about the true meaning of “La Vie Moderne,” and reflected the spirit of this vivacious city.
This book is the first to investigate the variety of ways in which this broad spectrum of avant-garde artists defined their art as “modern.” Lavishly illustrated with imagery from paintings, prints, watercolors, and drawings, to rare zinc shadow puppet silhouettes, caricature, and programs for the famous Chat Noir cabaret, this book establishes a material history of a distinctive graphic style that still resonates today. TOULOUSE LAUTREC AND LA VIE MODERNE: PARIS 1880-1910 is complete with a timeline of historical events, and essays by an international group of curators and scholars discussing topics such as “Parisianism,” entertainment and performance, and the symbolism behind these much-admired works.
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS: Phillip Dennis Cate is director emeritus of the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University and an independent scholar and guest curator of this exhibition. Fred Leeman is former chief curator of painting at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Christopher Lloyd is former Surveyor of The Queen’s Pictures, London. Belinda Thomson is an honorary fellow at the University of Edinburgh, and a renowned scholar of Post-Impressionism.
TOULOUSE-LAUTREC AND LA VIE MODERNE: PARIS 1880-1910 Edited by Phillip Dennis Cate; with contributions by Fred Leeman, Christopher Lloyd, and Belinda Thomson
Skira Rizzoli, an imprint of Rizzoli New York, and Art Services International, Alexandria, VA
Hardcover / 320 pages / 348 color illustrations / 9 ½’’ x 11 ½’’
PRICE: $75.00 U.S. / $75.00 CANADIAN / £45.00 UK
PUBLICATION DATE: October 2013
For those of you who want to see the exhibit below is the schedule:
Nevada Museum of Art, Reno: November 2, 2013 – January 19, 2014
Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio: February 8 – May 18, 2014
Foothills Art Center, Golden, Colorado: June 7 – August 17, 2014
Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada: September 6 – November 16, 2014
Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach, Florida: December 5, 2014 – January 11, 2015
Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California: January 31 – April 12, 2015
My Review Toulouse-Lautrec is best known for his paintings and posters depicting the cabarets and Paris's decadent lifestyle. After reading Toulouse-Lautrec and La Vie Moderne Paris I am speechless. I have to say that I have been fortunate to have seen Toulouse-Lautrec's work at the Lautrec Museum in Albi, his home and in Paris. The book is a work of art. The book is generously accompanied by numerous reproductions. I could study this book forever. I must say that I was rather impressed to find my husband leafing through the book. He remembered the museum in Albi, referring to Toulouse-Lautrec as the short guy who painted the cafe scenes.
The book has been published in conjunction with the exhibit that is traveling across the United States for the next two years. Centering on the art of Toulouse-Lautrec the exhibition will feature his work along with the work of a variety of other Parisian artists from the Realist, Nautralist and Symbolist movements. Their avant-garde tendencies reflected "la Vie moderne". Toulouse-Lautrec's subject were brothels, cabarets, dancehalls and the cafe-concerts at the turn of the 19th century. As Paris entered "La Belle Epoque" (a period of optimism and confidence" the works of naturalists, symbolists, decadents, Incoherents and Nabis presented fresh visions of life and society. (I must confess that I have taken this explanation from the book. Although I have studied art history I cannot give you an explanation of these different styles). But I can appreciate them.
The book does give its readers a great oversight of French history and an explanation of what was happening in France at the turn of the century as how artists and their work were influenced by important political and cultural events. There is also a detailed chronology of noteworthy events during this era.
The book is divided into four sections; realism/naturalism, entertainment and performance, symbolism/abstraction and portraits.
Here is the work of Louis Legrand. I am not familiar with his work, but was interesting to me is how he drew this piece which is rather crude but could also replicate the ballerinas on the stage in the same style of Degas, accenting the light and focusing on their delicate features.
The period of symbolism/abstractism is interesting in that artists returned to religious works along with landscapes and the abstract drawings depicting The Belle Epoque. This period of art seemed to have the most diverse styles.
The book explains artwork in the context of the history of France. It is truly a fascinating and informative book for anyone who appreciates art or just wants to learn a little more. A brief biography of each artist is included. While I have not read the book in its entirety, I have found it quite interesting to understand what influenced these artists. For the true art historian there is a very extensive bibliography. If you cannot make it to the Orsay or the Louvre Toulouse-Lautrec and La Vie Moderne Paris 1880-1910 will take on a great trip through the work of French artists.
This is my contribution to to Dreaming of France hosted by Paulita at An Accidental Blog.