Because of childhood injuries that left his legs crippled, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec often felt left out of the aristocratic world into which he had been born and lived at times on the margins of society. He frequented the Moulin Rouge, a famous Parisian nightclub named for the red windmill on its roof; here, he depicted many of his friends and favorite entertainers.

In the backgroundLa Goulue, the Moulin Rouge’s reigning dance star, adjusts her red hair while the dwarfish Toulouse-Lautrec and his tall cousin, Gabriel Tapié de Céléyran, walk toward the left. The glum assembly of characters seated around the table includes writer Edouard Dujardin, entertainer La Macarona, photographer Paul Sescau, winemaker Maurice Guibert, and another redhead, perhaps entertainer Jane Avril. The woman with the green face illuminated with artificial light is May Milton, another popular dancer of the day.

Toulouse-Lautrec’s Postimpressionist style is a highly personal combination of theImpressionists interest in contemporary subject matter and his own expressionistic color and line. The eerie green light of the interior evokes an unhealthy atmosphere. The artist then added to the visual drama by utilizing different lines, such as the curving silhouette of La Goulue fixing her hair, the collar of Avril’s coat, and the outline of Milton’s sleeve. These lines contrast with the strong diagonals of the banister and the floorboards, which rush forward toward the viewer, enhancing the lively mood of the decidedly worldly setting.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: