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Toulouse-Lautrec's Colorful Legacy Lands In Raleigh

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RALEIGH — The Moulin Rouge moves to Raleigh for a while as a new exhibit opens at the

North Carolina Museum of Art


Immerse yourself in the seedy Paris nightlife of the 1890s and you have entered the world of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

"He liked to go to the cabarets and the bars and the theatres all around Paris. He did that every night," according to Larry Wheeler, director of the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Toulouse-Lautrec's love of the lewd and lascivious turned into a lasting legacy when he started drawing posters to advertise his favorite venues.

"When this poster went up on the streets, Toulouse-Lautrec became even more of a celebrity than he already was," says Wheeler.

Posters, like the famous Moulin Rouge, are the hallmark of the N.C. Museum of Art's latest exhibition, which Wheeler decribes as "lighthearted and playful."

Wheeler believes that the exhibit is a perfect escape from recent events.

"I think for the past couple of months, everyone has felt a national stress as well as a personal stress, and I think people are looking for something uplifting and joyous and fun," he says.

Toulouse-Lautrec centered his work on the cabaret singers and cancan dancers he would eventually become obsessed with. The artist's images were bold and colorful to capture attention for the performance and for himself.

"When you think about it, the most effective poster is going to have a simple, bold design that you can see and understand at a glance and that's going to be memorable. Toulouse-Lautrec created the most memorable posters ever," says museum curator Joseph Covington.

Toulouse-Lautrec: Master of the Moulin Rouge

opens to the public on Sunday and runs through Feb. 17, 2002.

Admission to the exhibition is $7.50 for individuals, $5.50 per person for seniors, students and groups of 10 or more. Admission is free for museum members and children 12 and under.


Laurie Clowers, Reporter
John Cox, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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