"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Toulouse Lautrec at the San Diego Museum of Art

I spent a recent afternoon with 100 works by Toulouse Lautrec at the San Diego Museum of Art. He has always been a favorite of mine but I came away with renewed appreciation for his work. There are two incredibly beautiful oils in the collection - one on canvas of a night scene with figures that I had never seen anywhere and an oil on board of a nude lady on a disheveled bed - the layers and subtlety of color were so awesome. But I was very taken by the small delicate pencil and crayon drawings - they seemed so spontaneous and honest. I could easily imagine Lautrec sitting at a table in the Moulin Rouge doing these quick sketches. I have included two examples of his work. The horse and jockey has been a forever favorite of mine and I was thrilled to see it in person. I must say that I came away so inspired and have begun working on a large steeplechase painting in my studio. I find it refreshing and renewing to surround myself with the work of the masters every now and then, either through books or museum visits like this. It was an unforgettable exhibit and I highly recommend it if you are in San Diego. Here is a link to the museum site: www.sdma.balboaparkonline.org/art/exhibit/toulouse-lautrecs-paris

Serendipitously, recently I did several paintings of Lautrec. The first shows him asleep in a lawn chair at his mother's home in France, Malrome Chateau. It was done using a black and white photograph as a reference taken in 1900/1901 shortly before his death. The other is called The Artist and His Muse and is 36x24. I cropped it to show Lautrec in his studio in front of his own painting In the Salon of the Rue des Moulins (1894) with his model Mireille. She is the main subject of his painting and can be seen sitting on the salon sofa with her knee drawn up. The entire uncropped version can be seen on my website in the Figurative Gallery http://www.susansmolenskyfineart.com/ . This one was also done from a black and white photo taken around the time his painting was completed in 1894.


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