Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - At the Moulin Rouge
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s At the Moulin Rouge is an oil painting of a scene at the Moulin Rouge dance hall. It was painted between 1892-1895. According to the Art Institute of Chicago, Lautrec populated this scene with portraits of the habitués and regulars of the dance hall, including himself. Lautrec’s painting is postimpressionist, which is explained, in further detail later on in this essay. Other than explaining the postimpressionism of “At the Moulin Rouge,” the composition of the painting is also analyzed in full detail.
Postimpressionists used vivid colors and real-life subject matter, but they were more inclined to emphasize geometric forms, to distort form for expressive effect, and to use unnatural or arbitrary color. In Lautrec’s “At the Moulin Rouge” all of these features were used. Plenty of vivid colors were used, with the reds and oranges in the hair of the lady in the middle, the harsh blue green light that is upon the lady on the right, and all of the greens, blues, and oranges that are used off in the distance. The painting also comes from real-life subject matter. The Moulin Rouge was a real place for the nightlife, and according to The Art Institute of Chicago, all the people in the painting are real people who often visited the Moulin Rouge.
The use of geometric form is widely used in this painting. The countertop at the bottom left runs at an angle from the bottom to off the composition to the left in a very straight line. The floorboards, in which are at an opposite angle to the countertop, run through the composition in straight lines. Other geometric forms include the support beams that run up vertically to the ceiling. These geometric forms contrast with the organic and elongated forms in the rest of the painting. Form is distorted in some of the people. The person with the most distortion is the woman on the right. Her face is too big and...
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