The Fleeting World of Toulouse-Lautrec at Palazzo Reale

“He’s not a bad painter, but his drawing is terrible!”: this was the less than encouraging judgement of Léon Bonnat, the French academic that was called upon to act as master to what would come to be considered one of the greatest talents in graphic art of his generation. But neither the lack of esteem of his teacher, nor the opposition of his family - they initially forced him to sign his scandalous works with a pseudonym - would stop the anti-conformist genius of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. In love with art and a certain side of Paris, the Bohemian count who lived in Montmartre gave history a world of glitter and contrasts, of clowns, ballerinas and prostitutes, alcohol and absinthe, stylish theatres and sleazy bars. In telling all of this, he did well in trusting a new language, son of a new epoch, but also with a personal sensibility that was outside the norm: an original and provocative form of realism, capable of efficiently condensing form, colour and movement. With Palazzo Reale as their frame, more than 250 works from the most prestigious international museums illustrate the captivating talent of Toulouse-Lautrec: 35 paintings, testifying to his visceral love for the medium, along with celebrated prints and a complete series of posters, an extraordinary homage to the fleeting world of the Belle Époque.
Francesca Grego - © 2017 for Bulgari Hotel Milano