Thursday, March 31, 2011

Henri's Museum - Albi, France

I've always had a passion for Henri Toulouse-Lautrec's art so to visit his family region, and see Albi's museum of his works will always be a special memory for me. Henri's art had a vibrant movement about it, and gave an insight to his subject's personality (if you looked far enough).
As a young art student (read that as smart arse), the little bloke enthralled me with his posters, chalk and charcoal sketches of prostitutes, Moulin Rouge ladies and the cafe patrons of Paris. Even his unfinished sketches had a completion about them. To me, you could read his art, get a feeling for the personalities he captured.

I saw some of his work on our 2006 trip to the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, but it was not enough.
So for me, an art student (with very little talent) from the northern suburbs of Melbourne, it was a dream to be in Albi to see his original works.
Albi nestles on the Tarn river in the Midi Pyreneess. We stayed at the Hotel les Pasteliers on Rue Honere de Balzac within walking distance from the old town and the really interesting stuff. We booked into the hotel only to realise that the year before, the Tour de France had a time trial stage there and the CSC team stayed in the very hotel. Stuey O'Grady, an Australian was part of the team that year but crashed out in an earlier stage.
We took our bags to the room which was very comfortable and the concierge was most welcoming. We would certainly recommend the hotel for a short stay.
Here's a link to their website

The Berbie Palace is home to Henri's collection - you enter by a small entrance to the side of this grand building. Not grand as Grandiose but an austere grand. Its red brick facade is bland but impressive.

Inside were works that I was familiar with from my old study books and many that I was not aware of.

Henri's father was a very strange man, taken to dressing very flamboyantly. The painting of his father, Count Alphonse mounted on his horse while having a Falcon on his wrist gave an insight to the admiration he had for his father. At the time of this painting, Henri did not have the ability to enjoy riding with his father due to his disability. In fact the painting was long after his parents took different paths

He did however have the ability to paint the movement of people and creatures which he could not himself experience.

He left the family home Chateau de Bosc (more later) at a young age when his parents separated. His mother took him to Paris where his talent for drawing emerged.

Wikipedia can tell you much more about Henri follow the link.

As we walked away from the museum, under my arm was a comprehensive booklet guide (which I still occasionly re-read) and a few reproduction posters of his work. One which is my prized pieces is naturally a bicycle poster.

How could you not like the man - he had a passion for bicycles!!!!!

And just for fun - The John Houston directed film of Henri's life at the Moulin Rouge.

The following day we decided to visit the family home of Henri. More about that next week.
Who was that lady in gum boots and the stockman's coat? I'll let Sue tell later.

All the photos here have been courtesy of the internet due to the loss of my own collection.

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog. I own the 1891 Moulin Rouge: La Goulue (1891), Aristide Bruant in his cabaret (1892), Reine de Joie (1892) Divan Japonais (1892 - 1893, Jane Avril (1893), and what appear to be an unfinished one of "fifth" picture posted above. All have been in my family forever and are 9.5" x 13 on very thich paper (like very thin card board). Any feedback on these descriptions is appreciated.


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