Art Gallery of Alberta

Toulouse-Lautrec and La Vie Moderne: Paris 1880-1910
September 6-November 16, 2014


image credits [click to view]


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, The Troupe of Mlle Eglantine, 1896; colour lithograph, 61 x 79 cm; Gemeentemuseum, The Hague

Louis Legrand, Dancer, Red Hair, c.1900. Oil on cardboard. 60 x 50 cm. Private Collection, Amsterdam.

Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Tournée du Chat Noir (Tour of the Chat Noir), c.1896. Colour lithograph. 135.9 x 95.9 cm. Stichting Het Kattenkabinet, Amsterdam.



This extraordinary exhibition highlights the wide spectrum of exciting work created by avant-garde artists in Paris around the turn of the century. Through dreamy Symbolist landscape paintings, edgy Parisian street scenes, intimate domestic tableaux, bawdy cabaret sketches, figure studies, portraits and still life compositions, it investigates a generation of artists continuing the battle against French Academic standards fought by the Impressionists and the Barbizon painters before them.

The exhibition traces the important 30 year period of modern French art at the turn of the century, from the “fin-de-siecle” through to “The Belle Epoque”, a time when Parisian art was multi-faceted with varied approaches to the idea of being “modern.” Breaking with tradition, some artists explored expressive means in line, colour and form to depict daily life, while others used abstract styles to negate naturalism and suggest underlying universal symbols.

With Toulouse-Lautrec as its focus, and featuring the work of a generation of his contemporaries, this exhibition puts the art of famous Impressionists and Post Impressionists into context; it demonstrates how avant-garde artists approached the subject of modernity, and highlights the various media turn of the century artists put to use to publicize their work: illustrated journals, books, posters and theatre programs.

This groundbreaking exhibition is comprised of over 180 works including paintings, watercolors and drawings; posters designed by Lautrec and Pierre Bonnard, among others; illustrated programs and rare zinc shadow puppet silhouettes used in avant-garde shadow-theatre productions at the Chat Noir cabaret; and illustrated programs for circuses, cabarets and café-concerts documenting the activities of avant-garde artists.

Toulouse-Lautrec and La Vie Moderne: Paris 1880-1910 is curated by Phillip Denis Cate and is presented at your AGA with the support of Capital Powered Art, an exhibition series sponsored by Capital Power Corporation

Organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia.
His Excellency Franҫois Delattre, Ambassador of France to the United States of America is Honorary Patron of the exhibition.

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Photography is not permitted in this exhibition due to lending agreements.