Beyond Montmartre and the Avant-Garde: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and the Democratization of Art



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This thesis is a multi-faceted exploration into Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s contribution to the democratization and modernization of art. A variety of factors, such as the artist’s personal rejection of elitism after being abandoned by his upper-class family, his personal affiliation with the intellectual underground of Montmartre, the artist’s mastery of both traditional and novel print media which led to wide street exposure, and his stylistic and strategic uniqueness, make Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec a very important and irreplaceable name in the art historical record when it comes to breaking down barriers that restricted the common citizen’s access to art, as well as setting a unique standard for contemporary art and artists. This thesis seeks to demonstrate these factors in a way that captures a scope that has rarely, if ever, been addressed by prior scholarship. This thesis also seeks to refocus the narrative regarding Lautrec, which is often overlooked or misunderstood.



art, art history, lautrec, Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri de, montmartre, post-impressionism, 19th century art, parisian art, moulin rouge