Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia:
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (November 24, 1864 – September 9, 1901) was a French painter.
Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec Monfa was born in Albi, Tarn in the Midi-Pyrénées Region of France. From an old aristocratic family which had lost much of its prestige, he was the son of Comte Alphonse and Comtesse Adèle de Toulouse-Lautrec. Henri was their first child. A brother was born on August 28, 1867 but died the next year. His parents were first cousins and much intra-marriage had already taken place within the families. This was done to preserve the family wealth, but led to development of genetic defects as the result of inbreeding.
At age 12 Henri fractured his left thigh bone, and at 14 his right thigh bone, and because of a genetic disorder which prevented his bones from healing properly, his legs ceased to grow. He reached maturity with a body trunk of normal size but with abnormally short legs, described by Jean Bouret as having "developed the torso of a grown man on the legs of a small boy; and his handsome face changed gradually into a thick-lipped, monstrously masculine and sensual mask covered in black stubble." He was only 1.5 m (4 1/2 ft) tall.
Unable to participate in the activities a normal body would have permitted, Toulouse-Lautrec lived for his art. He became an important post-impressionist painter, art nouveau illustrator, and lithographer, and recorded the bohemian lifestyle of Paris at the end of the 19th century. In the mid-1890s, Toulouse-Lautrec contributed illustrations to the humourous magazine, Le Rire.
He was deemed "the soul of Montmartre", the Parisian quarter where he made his home. His paintings portray life at the Moulin Rouge and other Montmartre and Parisian cabaret and theatres, and in the brothels that he frequented (and where he perhaps contracted syphilis). Two of the well-known people he portrayed were singer Yvette Guilbert, and Louise Weber, known as the outrageous La Goulue, a dancer who created the "French Can-Can."
Toulouse-Lautrec taught painting to, and encouraged the efforts of, Suzanne Valadon, one of his models and probably his mistress. She is believed the one from whom he contracted syphilis.
An alcoholic for most of his adult life, shortly before his death he entered a sanatorium.
He died due to the complications of alcholism and syphilis at the age of almost 37, at the family estate in Malromé and is buried in Verdelais, Gironde, a few miles from his birthplace.
His last words were "Old fool" in reference to his father who was there when he died.
After his death, his mother, The Comtesse Alphonse de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Maurice Joyant, his art dealer, promoted his art, and his mother contributed funds for a museum to be built in Albi, his birthplace, to house his works.
Toulouse-Lautrec is said to have been a genius of an artist whose remarkable powers of observation were matched by a profound sympathy with humanity. He never exhibited any regret at being born with his deformities. He lived life to the full, made many friends and was always accepted in spite of his short stature.
Before 2005, his paintings sold for as much as $14.5 million.