The Moulin Rouge and the Bell Epoque Come to Norfolk
"The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec" to open March 10
NORFOLK, VA. (Feb. 22, 2017) — Meet the legends of 19th-century Parisian nightlife in The Chrysler Museum of Art's spring keynote exhibition, The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and Posters from The Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition is on view from March 10 to June 18, 2017. Admission is free.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is synonymous with the Belle Epoque, or Beautiful Era, in Paris. He created iconic works of the hedonistic nightlife that still define the ideal of bohemian urban life today. His brief 10-year career, from 1891 until his death in 1901, was a manic celebration of the freedom Paris offered and his work gave enduring renown to many of its star performers. The electric color, bold shapes and restless energy of his designs beckoned workers, aristocrats and foreign tourists into the new cafe-concerts, cabarets and other haunts of Montmartre.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, (French, 1864–1901), Aristide Bruant dans son cabaret (Aristide Bruant in His Cabaret), 1893. Lithograph, sheet: 53 9/16 x 37 15/16 in., The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Emilio Sanchez, 1961. © The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photograph by Thomas Griesel. Click image to enlarge.
The exhibition follows different themes of Toulouse-Lautrec's life in Paris: the new café-concert culture, entertainment on stage and the daily life of the women performers onstage and off. He was commissioned to produce promotional posters of groundbreaking performers like dancers Jane Avril and La Goulue (stage name of Louise Weber), along with audacious impresarios like Aristide Bruant. In addition, he depicted everyday denizens of the city, including the private lives of prostitutes captured in his lithographic portfolio, Elles (1896). The portfolio of 12 prints shows the women not at work, but in scenes of daily life — sipping coffee in the morning or washing before a mirror.
Toulouse-Lautrec mastered the relatively new art of lithography, an intricate printmaking process based on the principle that grease and water are repellent. Like many Parisian artists, his printmaking style was heavily influenced by Japanese woodcut prints being exported to Europe for the first time.
The Japanese influence on Toulouse-Lautrec will be explored in Inspiring Impressionism, a complementary exhibition of Japanese Ukiyo-e woodcut prints from the Chrysler Museum collection. Named Ukiyo-e or "floating world pictures" after the pleasure district of Tokyo, they first showed celebrity actors and courtesans, and later branched into landscapes and historical subjects. The prints became wildly popular in Paris after Commodore Matthew Perry's 1853 voyage to open Japan to foreign trade—a mission that began in Hampton Roads, forever changing the worlds of commerce and art. Japanese artist Hibata Ossuke documented this visit, and the Chrysler owns a rare copy of his images of Perry and his squadron, showing probably the first foreigners seen in Edo in more than 200 years. The Museum will also exhibit famed prints from Utagawa Hiroshige's remarkable series, 53 Stations of the Tokaido.
Toulouse-Lautrec was just 36 when he succumbed to a stroke in 1901, leaving behind 368 prints and posters pushing the boundaries of design. Explore his genius in The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec at the Chrysler Museum from March 10–June 18, 2017.
The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and Posters from The Museum of Modern Art was organized by Sarah Suzuki, Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints, The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
ABOUT THE CHRYSLER MUSEUM OF ART
The Chrysler Museum of Art is one of America's most distinguished mid-sized art museums, with a nationally recognized collection of more than 30,000 objects, including one of the great glass collections in America. The core of the Chrysler's collection comes from Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., an avid art collector who donated thousands of objects from his private collection to the Museum. In the years since Chrysler's death in 1988, the Museum has dramatically enhanced its collection and extended its ties with the Norfolk community. The Museum, expanded in 2014 to add additional gallery spaces and amenities for visitors, now has growing collections in many areas. The Chrysler also mounts an ambitious schedule of exhibitions and educational programs and events throughout the year.
The Chrysler Museum of Art, One Memorial Place, Norfolk, and its Perry Glass Studio at 745 Duke St., are open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. The Historic Houses on East Freemason Street are open weekends. General admission is free at all venues.
Contact Amber Kennedy