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In the Limelight: Toulouse-Lautrec Portraits from the Herakleidon Museum

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In the Limelight: Toulouse-Lautrec Portraits from the Herakleidon Museum

1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT 06830
September 23rd - January 7th, 2018

QUICK FACTS
WEBSITE:  
http://brucemuseum.org
EMAIL:  
info@brucemuseum.org
PHONE:  
203-869-0376
OPEN HOURS:  
10 am - 5 pm
COST:  
$10 adult, $8 senior/student, under 5 and members free. Free to all on Tuesdays

DESCRIPTION

In the Limelight: Toulouse-Lautrec

Portraits from the Herakleidon Museum

Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut

September 23, 2017 – January 7, 2018

 

A fascination with the spectacle, nightlife, and the tawdry side of celebrity culture is hardly a recent phenomenon. The artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864 – 1901) is famed for his images, created more than a century ago, of entertainers in the cabarets, dance halls, theaters and brothels of Paris.

Beginning September 23, 2017, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, will present the major exhibition In the Limelight: Toulouse-Lautrec Portraits from the Herakleidon Museum, which showcases the artist’s portraits of the dancers, singers and other performers who became the icons of the Parisian nightlife in the late 19th century. Featuring 100 drawings, prints, and posters (approximately half of the Herakleidon Museum’s extensive collection of Toulouse-Lautrec works on paper), the exhibition explores the relationship between portraiture, caricature, and rise of the cult of celebrity in Belle Époque Paris.

Lautrec wanted to show life as it is, not as it should be, but his objectivity was not without empathy or humor. His interest lay in portraying people, not only those he met during his nights on the town, including Sarah Bernhardt, Jane Avril, and Aristide Bruant, but also his friends and the working-class citizens of Paris.

 “As a longtime friend of many of the celebrities he depicted, Lautrec was uniquely able to appreciate the hollowing effects of celebrity,” notes exhibition curator Mia Laufer, PhD candidate (Washington University in Saint Louis) and former Zvi Grunberg Resident Fellow at the Bruce Museum (2015-2016). “He used portraiture to comment on the absurdity and excess of bohemian life. Lautrec could see through the guise of their public personas.”

Lautrec was also the subject himself of attention around the Parisian community of Montmartre when he moved there in 1885 and immersed himself in its nightlife. Visiting popular cafés concerts night after night, always sitting at the same table specially reserved for him, Lautrec was viewed by many as just another odd character on the scene. Because of Lautrec’s unusual appearance, he too created a public persona that masked a more complex interior. The self-conscious artist often resorted to outlandish behavior, preferring to be known for his biting wit, elaborate dinner parties, entertaining costumes, strong cocktails, and drunken extravagance, rather than for his appearance. He was only 4 feet 11 inches tall, having broken both legs at an early age, and died at age 36 from the ravages of syphilis and alcoholism, but he became famous, above all, for his advertising posters and portraits of personalities of the day.

In the Limelight: Toulouse-Lautrec Portraits from the Herakleidon Museum will be on view through January 7, 2018. The Bruce Museum, 1 Museum Drive, Greenwich, CT, is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. For more information, call the Bruce Museum at 203-869-0376 or visit brucemuseum.org.
 

Curators and Sponsors

In the Limelight: Toulouse-Lautrec Portraits from the Herakleidon Museum, a single source exhibition provided by PAN Art Connections Inc. www.pan-art-connections.com, is organized by the Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut. The works are on loan from the collection of Herakleidon Museum, Athens, Greece (www.herakleidon-art.gr). The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, featuring a scholarly essay by the curator Mia Laufer, PhD candidate (Washington University in Saint Louis) and former Zvi Grunberg Resident Fellow at the Bruce Museum (2015-2016), acknowledgments by Peter C. Sutton, The Susan E. Lynch Executive Director of the Bruce Museum, and a foreword by Paul Firos, founder of the Herakleidon Museum.

In the Limelight: Toulouse-Lautrec Portraits from the Herakleidon Museum is sponsored by The Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund, the Florence Gould Foundation, a Committee of Honor, and Connecticut Office of the Arts.