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Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012

Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries

Today @ Milwaukee Art Museum

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As one would expect from the title of the Milwaukee Art Museum's summer exhibition "Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries" (through Sept. 9), there is a generous sampling of Lautrec, including his first poster, Moulin Rouge La Goulue (1891), which shocked Parisians for its bold display of the dancer's undergarments. His Divan Japonais (1893) celebrated his friends, dancer Jane Avril, actress Yvette Guilbert and critic Eduard Dujardin. This work stands as a monumental achievement among Paris posters for its striking visual form and color and its poignant glance into a scene from Parisian life of the times. Apart from engaging visual experiences and a touch of art history that is less well known, this exhibition informs us about the cultural and social climate of Paris of nearly a century and a half ago.