press release


In fall 2014 the Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien is showing the first comprehensive retrospective of the work of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec ever held in Austria. The 150th anniversary of this spectacular artist’s birth is a fitting occasion for holding this exhibition, in which loans from international collections, the Musée Toulouse-Lautrec in Albi, the Metropolitan Museum New York, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Pushkin Museum in Moscow or the Statens Museums in Copenhagen, present Toulouse-Lautrec’s multifaceted oeuvre and his extraordinary observational skills in different genres.

The exhibition is oriented on the subjects that fascinated Toulouse-Lautrec, themes that he constantly returned to and reflect his continual interest in the human psyche. They are rooted at the beginning of his artistic career in the rural ambience of one of the oldest French noble families in the Province of Tarn and in the course of his development go on to capture the spirit of Paris, the metropolis oriented more and more on the future, with its vibrant atmosphere of the fin de siècle. Toulouse-Lautrec’s world of images is effectively a reflection of the volatile, fleeting life of the capital around 1890, and Toulouse-Lautrec the up-to-the-minute chronicler of this new »vie moderne«. Simultaneously, the exhibition celebrates Toulouse-Lautrec’s powers of expression as an artist. Thus besides the illus-trious »loud« posters for the dance halls and cabarets of Montmartre, the foundation of the artist’s international fame, we can also discover the lesser known Toulouse-Lautrec: paintings in muted colours facilitating an intimate form of portraying human psychology, drawings with pen and pencil, ideal for a pithy characterisation of the subject. The linking and juxtaposition of different modes of expression, themes and concepts are a reflection of the artist’s complex figure on the brink between two centuries. A unique show, which illuminates new aspects of one of the great protagonists at the dawning of Modernism.