Google doodle honours Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s 150th birthday

24 Nov 2014

Pictured: a self-portrait of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec at the famous Moulin Rouge in Paris

The Frenchman whose artwork and posters have done the most to evoke the Belle Epoque period of French history Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec has been honoured in a colourful new Google Doodle.

Born on 24 November 1864 Toulouse-Lautrec along with Cezanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin contributed to the vibrant Post-Impressionist period of art history.

Today’s doodle shows the artist at work painting a poster for can-can dancers at a venue like the Moulin Rouge.

The late 1800s in France was a colourful, bawdy, theatrical and decadent period that ended with the outbreak of World War I in 1914.

As a teenager he was disabled by a thigh bone fracture that would not heel and as a result Toulouse-Lautrec’s legs would not grow. Unable to enjoy sports he immersed himself in art.

His art captured many details of the late 19th-century bohemian lifestyle in Paris, particularly around the Montmartre area of Paris, which was the haunt of artists, writers and philosophers.

A close friend of Oscar Wilde, Toulouse-Lautrec supported Wilde when he faced imprisonment in Britain for his homosexuality.

An alcoholic for much of his life Toulouse-Lautrec died at just 36 years of age.

In 2005 a new record was set at Christie’s auction house when La blanchisseuse, an early painting of a young laundress, sold for US$22.4m.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years