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February 22 Lecture at the Clark Explores Toulouse-Lautrec’s Fascination with Parisian Nightlife

For Immediate Release

February 09, 2009

The art of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec has long been synonymous with the racy nightlife of turn-of-the-century Paris. Mary Weaver Chapin, assistant curator of prints and drawings at the Milwaukee Art Museum, will discuss Toulouse-Lautrec’s lifelong engagement with Parisian nightlife during “On the Town with Toulouse-Lautrec.” The free lecture will be held on Sunday, February 22, at 3 pm, at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.

Toulouse-Lautrec’s posters, prints, and paintings immortalized the stars and entertainments of Paris, and his close personal association with these establishments cinched his reputation as the chronicler par excellence of Parisian pleasures. He frequented theaters and dance halls like the Folies Bergère and the Moulin de la Galette, where he met artists, poets, and others attracted by the city’s nightlife. He was a regular visitor to the Moulin Rouge and Le Mirliton, eventually producing posters to advertise these venues and paintings inspired by their performances and patrons. He also became friendly with many of star performers, including Jane Avril and La Goulue, and immortalized the stage shows of the cabaret singer Yvette Guilbert and the American dancer Loïe Fuller.

Dr. Chapin has contributed to many recent publications on Toulouse-Lautrec, including Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre, published by the National Gallery of Art in 2005, and The Dancer: Degas, Forain, and Toulouse-Lautrec by the Portland Art Museum in 2008. Chapin trained at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she assisted with the exhibitions The Private Collection of Edgar Degas (1997) and Toulouse-Lautrec from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1999). Chapin received her B.A. from Wellesley College and her master’s degree and Ph.D. in art history form the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

Vibrant Parisian nightlife of the late nineteenth century will be on view at the Clark this winter. Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris marks the first time in over fifteen years that the Clark will show nearly its entire extraordinary collection of works by the great French painter and printmaker Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901). The exhibition features over eighty remarkable oil paintings, posters, photographs, drawings, and lithographs by Toulouse-Lautrec and his contemporaries. Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris will revel in Montmartre’s raucous streets, cabarets, theaters, and circuses—venues frequented by modern artists seeking inspiration from the world of entertainment at the turn of the century. The exhibition will showcase Toulouse-Lautrec’s magnificent capacity for both quiet intimacy and theatrical flair in a variety of media. Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris will be on view through April 26, 2009.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (daily in July and August). Admission is free November 1 through May 31. Admission June 1 through October 31 is $12.50 for adults, free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.


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