Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901) was, in the words of one prominent critic, "the quintessential chronicler of Paris, as it is understood by those who come here seeking bright lights and wild pleasures." Over the course of twenty years, he produced works in a wide range of media depicting dance halls, theaters, circuses, and the celebrities who performed in them—images that have come to define our vision of the era. Sterling and Francine Clark began collecting Toulouse-Lautrec's lithographs in the 1920s, when they lived in Paris. They acquired their first painting by the artist in 1938, adding three more over the next thirteen years. Shortly after the Clark opened in 1955, these works were complemented by the purchase of an exceptional group of prints that had been collected by Dr. Herbert L. Michel of Chicago, including a complete set of Toulouse-Lautrec's series Elles. Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris celebrates the Clark's extensive collection of the artist's work, exploring the themes and sites that inspired him and his contemporaries and providing a vibrant picture of Paris at the end of the nineteenth century.
This exhibition was organized by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.