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PIN-UPS: TOULOUSE-LAUTREC AND WTHE ART OF CELEBRITY
Rewarding exhibition of work from the chronicler of Montmartre night-life This new exhibition – which takes as its basis the poster works of Toulouse-Lautrec, with much more historical detail besides – might only be in the basement, but it’s surely one of the most rewardingly curated events the Scottish National Galleries will present this year. Lautrec’s vices killed him, yet this show bears a celebratory edge of Montmartre nights in full swing. The famed 1891 advertising poster for Moulin Rouge which made his name is here, as are an advertisement for the writer Victor Joze’s social satire Reine de Joie (Queen of Joy) and the frontispiece for ‘Elles’, Toulouse-Lautrec’s collection of studies of women who work in brothels; each bears a unique combination of the glamorously alluring and the faintly disturbing.
As much as Toulouse-Lautrec is an important i gure in the world of post-impressionism and pop art-predating lithograph posters, he is shown here to be almost a supporting character in his own story; and the lead, if there is one, is the city of Paris itself. The son of French aristocracy, whose legs were foreshortened by a combination of genetic disorder and childhood illness, he was an enthusiastic consumer as well as a chronicler of the night-life of Montmartre, chiel y through his addictions to wine and absinthe and his frequent use of the services of sex workers. The 20th century wasn’t even two years old when Toulouse-
There are also generous sections on inl uences on imitators, and on subjects and contemporaries like the dancers Loie Fuller and the singers Yvette Guilbert and Aristide Bruant, adding up to a packed and densely curated show which gives a rich storytelling sense of place and time. (David Pollock) ■ Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 20 Jan. ●●●●●
1 Nov 2018–31 Jan 2019 THE LIST 131