Visual Arts: Designers for a legend. Tribute to Toulouse-Lautrec


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Poster enthusiast that he was, throughout his career Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) received commissions from most all Parisian cabarets. He designed his first poster in 1891 for the Moulin Rouge. From then on, accompanied by an ever-present Japanese influence, Toulouse won fame in lithography, developing a highly personal style also marked by the importance given to typography. Although his career was cut short by an early death, he revolutionised the language of posters, achieving worldwide renown. He was an influence for artists such as the Beggarstaffs Brothers, Will Bradley, Ramon Casas and Adrià Gual, and his posters were widely appreciated among Parisian society. In 2001, to mark the 100-year anniversary of his death, the Club des Partenaires du Musée Toulouse-Lautrec of Albi (France) organised a tribute to this great artist. Under the leadership of Anthon Beeke, 100 of the world's top graphic designers were brought together. The result: the 100 posters in which Toulouse-Lautrec's indelible mark is plain to see. The complete series forms part of ”la Caixa” Foundation's Graphic Art Collection, from which a selection of 60 posters are exhibited in Vic, their first showing in Spain. Under the title Designers for a legend. Tribute to Toulouse-Lautrec, the exhibition features the interpretations of Javier Mariscal, Anthon Beeke, Paula Scher and Ikko Tanaka, among others.The Designers for a legend. Tribute to Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition, organised by design historian Raquel Pelta, can be visited at ”la Caixa” Foundation's Vic Cultural Centre (Passeig de la Generalitat, 46), from 16 April to 1 June, 2003.The exhibition Designers for a legend. Tribute to Toulouse-Lautrec is divided into two areas. The first features modern posters that evoke the artist's extraordinary character and trademark iconography. A black bowler hat, cane and the many guises in which Toulouse-Lautrec had his picture taken have served as a source of inspiration for the graphic designers in their tribute to this artist. Next are the posters based on Parisian show business and night life, a scene Toulouse-Lautrec deftly captured. These 60 graphic works are exhibited alongside photographs of the artists and copies of his posters, configuring a context for the creations of contemporary designers. It is all put to use as valuable reference material.The exhibition also shows the various modern trends of graphic design, as it brings together works from artists as diverse as Javier Mariscal, Isidro Ferrer, Anthon Beeke, Paula Scher, Seymour Chwast, Ikko Tanaka and Alan Fletcher, in addition to others. Each contributes their own personal view of the life and works of an artist essential to understand the evolution of not only 19th but also 20th century art.Painter and lithographer Henri Marie de Toulouse-Lautrec was born in 1864 in Albi (France). A descendant of the Counts of Tolosa, Toulouse-Lautrec was blessed with a charming magnetism. He settled in Montmartre in 1885, taking up a Bohemian lifestyle and patronising the local cafés, cabarets, brothels and theatres which he later portrayed in his work. Toulouse-Lautrec prepared posters for most Parisian cabarets, cultivating pastel techniques and illustrating for humorous publications. His alcoholic excesses caused him to retire to a hospital in Neuilly, and later to the Malromé Castle, where he died in 1901.Though he only created some thirty posters over his life, Toulouse-Lautrec revolutionised the language of graphic design, with a decisive impact on its later development. He brought flat colours and the perspective of a Japanese aesthetic to poster-making, making observers feel a part of the scene. He also used a special brand of typography, placing letters among the illustrations in a surprisingly attractive, imaginative way.Aside from his overwhelming influence in artistic circles, his posters also caught on in society at large. Back then, Thadée Natanson, one of the founders of the Revue Blanch magazine, wrote that Toulouse-Lautrec posters "dazzled on the streets of París." One hundred years after his death, today's artists regard this artist as an icon of intellectual freedom. For example, many contemporary designers consider themselves his direct heirs, a sentiment perfectly exemplified in the Designers for a legend. Tribute to Toulouse-Lautrec show.Designers for a legend. Tribute to Toulouse-LautrecFrom 16 April to 1 June, 2003”la Caixa” Foundation Cultural CentrePasseig de la Generalitat, 4608500 Vicwww.fundacio@lacaixa.esTel.: 902 22 30 40Hours:From Tuesday to Friday, from 5 – 9 pmSaturdays, from 10 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 9 pmSundays and holidays, from 11 am to 2 pmFree