Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec Monfa was an heir apparent of an ancient aristocratic family. In 1878-79 he broke both legs leaving him a four-and-a-half foot dwarf. With a handicap that rendered the usual occupations of the noble rich unsuitable, Lautrec pursued a career as a working artist.
Even more scandalous than a nobleman working for a living was Lautrec’s plunge into the bohemian life of Montmartre, the hub of the artistic, intellectual and literary avant-garde, with its growing number of commercialized theaters, café-concerts, cabarets and dance halls of the 1880s and 1890s. Between 1891 and his death at 37 in 1901 Lautrec portrayed the mood and the atmosphere of these nocturnal haunts of Paris in his color lithographs and posters.
Image: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, b.1864, d.1901), Aristide Bruant in His Cabaret, 1893, color lithograph poster, Museum Purchase with funds provided by Albert P. Strietmann Fund, 1955.486