His is one of the most familiar biographies in the history of art. He was born in into an aristocratic family that could trace its ancestry to the Crusades and whose tendency to intermarry probably caused the congenital disease that turned him into a dwarfish, misshapen figure. From his father, who enjoyed lunching in a tutu and having himself photographed in exotic costumes, he may also have inherited a taste for the bizarre, theatrical and socially marginal. The alcoholism and other illnesses that hastened his death at the age of 36 were byproducts of a career spent largely among the prostitutes, nightclub performers and hangers-on in the seamier quarters of Belle Epoque Paris. No wonder the life of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec became fodder for Hollywood. That film, combined with the enduring appeal of the sardonic posters Lautrec designed to advertise the cabarets of Montmartre and the Champs-Elysees, has helped to insure for the artist a level of fame demonstrated at the Hayward Gallery here by the more than 20, visitors who stream each week through the latest retrospective of his work.
In the late 1800’s, this famous artist produced several lesbian paintings
In the late ’s, this famous artist produced several lesbian paintings / LGBTQ Nation
However, until the mid century, and despite the acknowledgment of male homosexuality, female homosexuality had been considered absurd. This scepticism was grounded in the fact that many nineteenth-century psychologists and medical professionals did not believe in female sexual impulse. Lesbianism in the public realm was a sexual preference that, while common, was negatively judged by French conservative society and for this reason was conducted with subtlety and partially obscured. Whilst these Montmartre celebrities were depicted on multiple occasions by Lautrec, the artist chose to represent them as skilled professionals, never exploiting their sexual preference as the main focus of his compositions. In The two friends [ Les deux amies ]Lautrec depicts two prostitutes sitting in the waiting room of a brothel during a brief interval between clients. This exaggerated whiteness — heavily made up with blue eye-shadow and red lipstick — results in two mask-like faces and a concealment of true identity.
Toulouse-Lautrec was born visibly disabled to an aristocratic family and was separated from the upper-class life that his siblings led. His legs stopped growing when he was a child while his torso continued to grow, and his bones broke easily, keeping him away from popular, sporty pastimes of his era. When he lived in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris, he frequented brothels.