Art: Gaslight and Fallen Souls

In Chicago, a fresh view of Toulouse-Lautrec's art

A dwarfish cripple of exalted birth, absinthe-sodden and dead at 37, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was perhaps the most spectacular peintre maudit of the late 19th century: a doomed dog of modernism, fit for Hollywood. No reputation can quite survive a movie like Moulin Rouge, and ever since its release in 1953 the popular image of Toulouse-Lautrec has been shaped by the sight of Jose Ferrer, legs bound, peering with lugubriously feigned interest up at the boiler-plated buttocks of Zsa Zsa Gabor. Thus Toulouse-Lautrec became one...

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