This is a biography of the notoriously decadent artist, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The book is based on over 1500 perviously unseen family letters and was ten years in the making. Frey considers aristocratic background, his childhood and the reasons for his rebellious nature.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is usually portrayed as a debauched aristocrat, cabaret painter, accidental dwarf. Julia Frey's biography, ten years in the making, uses meticulous research to strip away this myth and reveal for the first time the tortured man beneath. During his lifetime and after his death, Toulouse-Lautrec's family shrouded the truth in a haze of distortion, self-righteousness and outright lies. Now, decades later, the discovery of over 10000 family letters fills in the half-truths, to show - a haunted genius, crippled both physically and psychologically by his gothic, pathologically inbred family. The Toulouse-Lautrecs were a close-knit, aristocratic family, and Henri's parents were first cousins. Intermarriage, not incompetent doctors, caused his deformity; and a childhood spent in ceaseless, aimless peregrinations around the family houses, with his wildly eccentric father more absent than not, created a smothering bond between his mother, a manipulative and neurotically pious woman, and her only surviving child. Henri, an energetic and bubbly child, grew into a rebellious, provocative man, who found among the prostitutes and cabaret performers of Montmartre a freedom so shocking and threatening to his class-obsessed family that they burned his paintings and committed him to an asylum for the insane. The life of Toulouse-Lautrec is a story of cruel disability overcome by bounding egotism and fierce humour, of great talent searching for its subject, of alcoholism, self-destructiveness and feverish insecurity. Julia Frey's book leads the reader through two mazes: decadent fin-de-siecle Paris, and the complex struggles of a tormented mind.
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The book has been read, but looks new. The book cover has no visible wear, and the dust jacket is included if applicable. No missing or damaged pages, no tears, possible very minimal creasing, no underlining or highlighting of text, and no writing in the margins.