The beginning of the modern poster art
The entire graphic works of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec were created towards the end of an equally short and intensive life. A French artist of aristocratic descent, Toulouse-Lautrec was fascinated by the possibilities of the new technology of the day and created 351 mostly colour prints within a decade. Inspired by Japanese wood engravings, his colourful lithographs with their strongly contrasting combination of images and typeface became the stylistic starting point for modern poster art.
The aristocrat, who had remained small in stature since his accident, spent most of his time in the cafes, cabarets and brothels around the Montmartre a scene he portrayed without arrogance or false sympathy. His unvarnished scenes of the chic Paris nightlife left a deciding mark on the picture of a legendary era, the so-called “Belle Epoque.”
The Berliner Otto Gerstenberg’s famous pre-World War I collection contains dedicated examples, pre-prints, trial copies and review prints and perfectly unites Toulouse-Lautrec’s remarkable oeuvre. This presentation of the complete collection of graphic works, put together by Professor Dr. Goetz Adriani, was rounded off with paintings, pastel works and sketches by the artist.
Alongside the exhibition a catalogue with colour reproductions of each exhibit was published by DuMont, Cologne.