ALTHOUGH the baffling, dedicated, often tormented painters of the late 19th century have inspired one Hollywood opus after another, the celluloid vision has proved no more revealing than the dated contemporary photographs. This month at Chicago's Art Institute, a traveling exhibition of Toulouse-Lautrec will offer a fresh look at that tempestuous age, peopled by the foppish, witty, dwarf-legged chronicler of Montmartre and his painter friends Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh. There, done with quick, sure strokes, is the record not only of what Toulouse-Lautrec saw as he grappled with the living instant, but how he saw it, set down with...

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