Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Date of Birth: 24111864
Toulouse-Lautrec was born in Albi into one of the oldest aristocratic families and by the time he was 10 he had begun to draw and paint. At 12 he broke his left leg and at 14 his right leg. The bones failed to heal properly, and his legs stopped growing. He reached young adulthood with a body trunk of normal size but with abnormally short legs. During his convalescence, his mother encouraged him to paint. Toulouse-Lautrec was drawn to Montmartre, an area of Paris famous for its bohemian lifestyle and for being the haunt of artists, writers, and philosophers. He studied under the acclaimed portrait painter Lon Bonnat and first met Emile Bernard and Van Gogh. When the nearby Moulin Rouge cabaret opened its doors, Toulouse-Lautrec was commissioned to produce a series of iconic posters. Throughout his career, which spanned fewer than 20 years, Toulouse-Lautrec created 737 canvases, 275 watercolours, 363 prints and posters, 5,084 drawings, some ceramic and stained glass work, and an unknown number of lost works. He is known along with Cezanne, Van Gogh, and Gauguin as one of the greatest painters of the Post-Impressionist period. In a 2005 auction at Christie's auction house a new record was set when "La blanchisseuse", an early painting of a young laundress, sold for $22.4 million.