Toulouse- Lautrec Moulin Rouge Sterling Silver Fountain Pen
In the Paris of 1899 Montmarte was known as a neighborhood where buildings could be rented cheaply for studio space. Located high on a hill overlooking the city, it was a haven for those on the margins of society. Public dance halls and singing cafes were clustered at the top and bottom of the hill, connected by a series of winding paths. An eclectic mix of factory girls, artists, musicians and slumming aristocrats gathered at these clubs to indulge in the vices that working class Paris had to offer. It was in this ragged neighborhood where Henri Toulouse- Lautrec maintained his bohemian studio to socialize with and paint the people who worked and played in these clubs. He painted them obsessively, in the same way that other artists painted landscapes.
As a young artist studying in the studio of Mssr. Cormon, Toulouse- Lautrec intertwined his artistic discipline with a wild and rebellious social life. Because of Cormon’s openness to new ideas and a philosophy that espoused the value of constant change, Henri remained responsive to new influences. This was perhaps his greatest strength as an artist. He incorporated many elements – photographs as posing references, Divisionist color theory, Japanese perspective and social realism – into his own increasingly individualistic style. He was also heavily influenced by the renowned Edgar Degas and used Impressionist colors in much of his work. His maturation as an artist with a unique vision meshed with his fascination of Parisian nightlife at what was to become his social and professional focal point in the late 19th Century – the club called Le Moulin Rouge.
Le Moulin Rouge was a monument to artifice and excess. Using the slogan “Le Rendezvous de High Life” and focusing on brassy circus- themed décor, Le Moulin Rouge had the feel of a private street fair. It was a feast for the senses that started right in the entrance hall, which had been transformed into an art gallery. The focal point of the gallery was Toulouse-Lautrec’s large circus painting, which hung prominently near the main entrance. Drawn to this palace of sophisticated European decadence, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec finally found himself in his element at the age of 25. The combination of sex, alcohol and tobacco was a heady combination of potions for the young artist. He adored the scene and became a regular, sitting at a front row table almost every night.