Gabriella Day, our press office volunteer is off to pastures new but before she left us she paid a visit to High Kicks & Low Life: Toulouse-Lautrec prints at the Walker Art Gallery. Here is what she made of it:
Debaucherous, yet intimate; vibrant, yet forlorn, oh the joys of Toulouse-Lautrec. I must admit to being a bias judge of this exhibition, as I find the work of this incredibly talented and yet tortured individual (he died of complications due to alcoholism and syphilis at the age of 36) utterly endearing and completely captivating. I adore his splashes of vivid colour and playful illustrative style, capturing the essence of a fleeting moment. The fact that his muse is the frivolous Parisian cabaret in all its camp, seedy glory just makes his work all the more titillating to me.
As well as some world renowned favourites like the playful Moulin Rouge- La Goulue, this exhibition also boasts some of his lesser known works. These additional pieces read like the inside of the artists personal sketch book, often sensitively capturing intimate moments with the women behind the cabaret. I envisaged the artist hurriedly sketching the action on a discarded napkin, to ensure that the expression, the movement, the emotion were not missed. Despite the style and nature of many of the pieces, they are all in fact lithographic prints using a mixture of bushes and colour crayons, making their style all the more fascinating.
My personal favourites are the Elles: La Clownesse Assise (the Seated Clowness) and Elles: Femme qui se Peigne (Woman brushing her hair). The first intrigues me due the unusual subject, his nonchalant pose and quizzical expression, and the second because of its wistful and intimate mood.
Visit the website for more details about the free public programme, which includes events during next week's half term school holidays.