The world of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
A look at some of the works of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec which will feature in a new exhibition coming to Australia in December.PT1M44S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-29rlt 620 349 November 22, 2012
ONE of the rarest posters made by the celebrated French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec has been bought by the National Gallery of Australia and is to be displayed for the first time as part of the gallery's new show Toulouse-Lautrec: Paris & the Moulin Rouge opening next month.
The poster, La Goulue, is one of 10 Lautrec posters the gallery has acquired since 2010 at a cost of about $2 million.
The gallery's director, Ron Radford, said the gallery now had one of the world's top collections of Lautrec's printed work, the result of a concerted effort to increase holdings.
Rare … the National Gallery director, Ron Radford, with La Goulue. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
It will go on show as part of a collection of more than 100 paintings, posters, prints and books borrowed from more than 30 institutions and collectors around the world.
Made in 1891, the La Goulue poster was a huge success when it was first displayed after Lautrec had been commissioned by the owners of the Moulin Rouge to do its advertising. Performers such as La Goulue - ''the glutton'' - were superstars, earning big money in a period when the French government was making a concerted effort to position Paris, and in particular Montmartre, as the world's pleasure capital. ''It cost the most because it was the first poster and by far the largest one,'' Mr Radford said this week of La Goulue, that measures 195 cms by 122 cms.
''You get a shock when you see how enormous it is. When people first saw it on the Paris streets they tried to pull it down and collect it. It was an instant success.'' As a result, Lautrec achieved great fame quickly.
''It was probably the most pivotal and influential poster in the history of poster-making in the world,'' Mr Radford said. ''[Lautrec] is regarded as the father of the modern poster. People were just amazed at how alike his characters and the real people were, yet how fabulous the design was and how clear a message it was in promoting the Moulin Rouge.''
Jane Kinsman, the gallery's senior curator of international art, who put the show together over three years, said the gallery's Lautrec collection comprised a single poster in 1972. The new posters that are soon to be exhibited were bought with money from the Orde Poynton Bequest Fund and the NGA Foundation.
Dr Kinsman, responsible for most of the purchases, some at auction, was unable to get hold of Lautrec's extremely rare last poster, Theatre Antoine: La Gitane de Richepin. ''It is almost impossible to get, it is so rare. There is one in Chicago and one in Bremen.''
Toulouse-Lautrec: Paris & the Moulin Rouge is at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, from December 14 to April 2.