Mother’s Day was cold and wet in the Boston area, so we decided to spend some time at the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at the Museum of Fine Art. Before social media, there were posters, and Toulouse-Lautrec had a gift of conveying all the sizzle of demi-monde clubs and cabarets in the advertising art that was splashed on walls around Paris.
“Toulouse-Lautrec and the Stars of Paris” explores the connections between the artist and the careers he helped launch. Intermingled with his posters, drawings and paintings are the works of artists who inspired him, like Degas, or who were inspired by the same subject matter of horse racing and brothels. In addition, there are other artifacts of the times, such as clothing and memorabilia. I loved the film footage of fin de siècle Paris and some of the dance hall acts.
Lautrec died of complications of alcoholism and syphilis at the age of only 36, but he left behind a substantial body of work. It’s amazing to me that so many of the advertising posters, which were always intended to be ephemeral have survived. The bright colors and exuberance chased away the nasty weather blues. The exhibit is on until August 4, 2019.