Henri de
(French, 1864-1901)

  • Event

  • Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is born on November 24th in France. He is the first son of Count Alphonse and the Countess Adèle de Toulouse-Lautrec, first cousins from an aristocratic family.

  • Henri's younger brother, Richard-Constantine, dies at the age of one. His parents separate.

  • The countess moves to Paris with eight year-old Henri. A friend of his father gives Henri his first drawing lessons.

  • A  Childhood drawing by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, age 6 or 7

    A Childhood drawing by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, age 6 or 7

  • Henri becomes sick and his mother moves him back to Albi, where he takes private art lessons and visits with doctors regularly.

  • Doctors have concerns about Henri’s lack of physical growth. He breaks his left femur in a fall and is bedridden for a long time, spending his time reading, drawing and painting.

  • Henri breaks his right femur, walking with his mother. His legs stop growing after these breaks. Doctors attempt a wide range of treatments, including electric shock treatment, but Henri remains crippled.

  • At this point in time Henri has created around 2,400 drawings, employing a variety of techniques.

  • Nice,  on the Promenade des Anglais

    Nice, on the Promenade des Anglais, Toulous-Lautrec 1880

  • Henri fails to graduate from high school in Paris but is accepted into a program in Toulouse for the fall. He decides to become an artist and leave school entirely. His uncle Charles supports him and helps convince Henri’s mother to allow Henri to drop out.

  • Henri begins to work in the studio of artist Léon Bonnat. Bonnat is a highly revered drawing teacher, but he treats Henri poorly. Bonnat's studio closes in September, and Henri begins studying with Ferdon Cormon. Henri also meets Emile Bernard and Vincent Van Gogh.

  • Lautrec begins his first romantic relationship, with Marie Charlet, a 17 year-old model.

  • Henri exhibits in his first collective exhibition.

  • Henri begins to frequently visit Montmartre's cabarets. He becomes inspired by the cabaret and begins exhibiting work at one of the venues.

  • The Dancer in Her Dressing Room, 1885

    The Dancer in Her Dressing Room, 1885

  • Henri becomes friends with Van Gogh. He also meets Suzanne Valadon, who models for him, and becomes his mistress until she attempts suicide in 1888.

  • Henri participates in a collective exhibition in Toulouse, under the name 'Treclau', an anagram of Lautrec. Next he exhibits in Brussels, and then with Van Gogh and Anquetin in Paris. This marks the year that, like Van Gogh, Henri develops an interest in Japanese prints.

  • Portrait of Vincent Van Gogh, 1887

    Portrait of Vincent Van Gogh, 1887

  • Event

  • Becomes a regular exhibitionist at the 'Salon des Indépendants' and the Volnay Art and Literature Society. The Moulin Rouge opens, and Lautrec becomes a regular. He has a table reserved and displays his work there.

  • Lautrec goes to Brussels for the opening of the Twenties exhibition. There is a scandal when Toulouse-Lautrec stands up for his friend Vincent Van Gogh and challenges H. de Groux to a duel. The duel never actually happens.

  • Lautrec makes his first engravings. Creates 'A la Mie', and the Moulin-Rouge poster that makes him famous overnight amongst the elite of Paris.

  • toulouse-lautrec-chronology
  • Toulouse-Lautrec has his first private exhibition. He is introduced to the theatre, attending all the premiers. He lives for some time in a brothel, and produces sixteen works there. He contracts syphilis.

  • In June and October, Henri travels to London where he exhibits posters for the 'Royal Aquarium'. Next he travels through Spain, and returns to France to live in a brothel again.

  • Henri exhibits in Brussels at the Free Aesthetics exhibition. He meets Oscar Wilde and Whistler, men he greatly admires. He takes part in a major lithography exhibition at the School of Fine Arts in Paris.

  • Henri hosts his second private exhibition. At this point he develops an interest in erotic Japanese prints, particularly those by Utamaro.

  • In May, Henri moves his studio, leaving behind eighty seven works of art which the new tenants use to cover holes in the wallpaper; the rest are sold for next to nothing. Henri travels to London in February. Henri abandons painting and devotes himself to his new favorite hobby, drinking. Henri suffers from alcohol poisoning that summer, and his mental state declines, a possible affect of the syphilis.

  • Henri exhibits seventy eight works at Goupil's gallery in London. Despite this exhibition, his alcoholism worsens, and his work often goes unfinished. Henri suffers from a paranoid delusion that the police are pursuing him, he takes refuge at a friend's house.

  • Dinner  at the House of M. and Mme. Nathanson

    Dinner at the House of M. and Mme. Nathanson, 1898

  • Henri illustrates Jules Renard's Natural histories. Suffering from depression and anxiety, he has a breakdown. He is placed in a mental hospital at the end of February, and stays there until May. While in the hospital he draws circus scenes from memory. His scandalous breakdown causes a media frenzy, his notoriety is at an all time high, and prices go up for his art.

  • At the Circus Fernando

    At the Circus Fernando

  • After a brief period of sanity, he falls back into alcoholism and sickness. He judges a juried poster exhibition in Paris, but is confined to a wheelchair.

  • In March he experiences delirium tremens, which results in cerebral hemorrhaging; his legs are paralyzed. From April to July, he resides in Paris, settles his estate and signs important art works. In August, he has a stroke, leaving him paralyzed on one side. He dies on September 9th from a combination of the stroke, alcoholism, and syphilis. He was thirty six years old.