Tim Doud on Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

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Tim Doud writes about Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's painting At the Moulin Rouge 1892 – 1895 in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Doud writes: "My initial interests in At the Moulin Rouge were the large figure with an under-lit greenish face in the lower right hand corner of the painting and the dynamic composition. The scene was decadent and exotic to me as a teenager living in rural Missouri… The various portraits portray an insider’s view of the ostensibly bohemian nightlife and more importantly, the convergence of different lives. The painting includes a self-portrait, in the center of the composition, an important inclusion in the larger context of Toulouse-Lautrec’s work. The work employs a compositional device used frequently by Vermeer and Degas; figures interact behind a structure (in this case a table) that separates the viewer from the action in the painting. The formal obstruction indicates something about access and makes the viewer aware of her or his position as a viewer or voyeur – standing outside of the scene. The smears of mustard yellow, dark orange and blue green paint contribute to an atmosphere that further reflect Toulouse-Lautrec’s interest in abstraction."

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