(b. 1864, Albi, d. 1901, Château Malromé, Langon)

Moulin Rouge: La Goulue

Colour lithograph (poster), 191 x 117 cm
Civica Raccolta delle Stampe Bertarelli, Milan

In the early 1890s Lautrec turned to original lithography which technique was eminently suited to his artistic personality. The technique allowed him to achieve simplicity of line, to use even colours without shading. He was to produce 360 lithographs, of which thirty were posters.

Lautrec became one of the most sought-after poster designers in Paris. He was so fashionable that his importance as a painter was almost forgotten. He developed a special painting technique which made his painting look similar to his lithographs and illustrations.

The Moulin Rouge became the place of bacchanal and revelry that its visitors, especially the foreigners, adored. The illuminated Moulin Rouge shone out over the boulevard like an enormous brothel lantern. The poster for the opening was painted by Jules Chéret, but for the 1891 season a poster was commissioned from Lautrec. The season saw the début of a young dancer, La Goulue (The Glutton), a pretty girl of twenty whose real name was Louise Weber (1870-1929). At first attempt Lautrec found the key to successful modern poster advertising: boldness and simplification. In a single night the large-scale poster was pasted up on walls and pillars throughout the whole of Paris.