Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s Exhibition

Hajon Lee

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Last Friday I went to see Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s exhibition in Hangaram Arts Center Museum which is at the Seoul Arts Center. It is open from Jan. 14th to May 16th from Tuesday to Sunday, so if you’re interested please please do book your tickets ASAP. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’ exhibition is separated into seven sections and ends with a video clip at the end summarizing the exhibition. It took me about 1hour for the exhibition, as I like to take my time, really looking deep into the drawings and reading all the texts that are displayed. I won’t be giving too much of a spoiler alert, but tell you briefly about my favorite part and how layout is.

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You can only take pictures in a few designated areas and all of the drawings are not allowed. Therefore I recommend you to take pictures whenever you can. When you first enter, there are two red rooms where you can take pictures, and then a background of a town with green and red lights which represents the town where Lautrec grew up. His art pieces are all based on this town and the people of this town. He was taught to draw things that were part of his daily life and things that were close to him. Most of the exhibition artwork is drawn in pencil, and shows the simplicity and excellency of pencil drawing. It is as if he just scribbled a few lines, but the character or subject was clear and very detailed. He is famous for drawing posters for theaters and shows, from which the lady with the black gloves is highly appraised in modern times.

My favorite part of the exhibition was the section: “I bought my freedom with my drawings”. Lautrec always carried a pencil and made a great effort to draw anything that came to mind, anything that he was inspired by. This section is where modernism is explicit yet, so exquisite. He exemplifies about following his dreams and proving his father wrong as he was born into a high class family, but took no part. My favorite phrase from the exhibition is “Everywhere and always ugliness has its beautiful aspects; it is thrilling to discover them where nobody else has noticed them”. Through this exhibition you will feel the hills of Montmartre, France, you can see a trend of Western art in the late 19th century.

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