The Poster Journal

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec Elles Series

Today the exhibition The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and Posters opens at MoMA. This is a very special event as it is the first time in 30 years that MoMA has devoted an exhibition solely to Lautrec. It features their extensive collection of more than 100 exquisite printed ephemera, posters, lithographs and printed books made at the height of his career. 

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (`864 - 1901) is well known for his depictions of Parisian life and for bringing the avant-garde of the late 19th century to the broader public through his famous posters and illustrations. Today he is seen as one of the most important figures in poster art and art history. 

The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec focuses on specific facets of his work and life in France, such as entertainment and nightlife and the famous singers and actresses who made venues, like The Moulin Rouge, so spectacular. Another will focus on his Elles series which sensitively portrays brothel life in Paris at the time. These images capture prostitutes outside working hours, in private moments of quiet contemplation. These women, whom he portrayed with such affection, came to be his great muses.

In France, 1990, a limited edition reissue was made of Lautrec’s Elles series. The set of 11 lithographs are printed in the highest quality and are available at Philip Williams Posters, individually and as a full set.