The Clowness Cha-U-Kao in a Tutu, 1895 (oil on cardboard), Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri de (1864-1901) / Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France / Giraudon / The Bridgeman Art Library
French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864 – 1901) vividly depicted the revelry of 19th century Parisian nightlife in paintings and posters. After injuring both legs in his early teens, Toulouse-Lautrec immersed himself in art while he recovered. He later entered the bohemian world of Paris’ Montmartre, painting its colorful cross-section of inhabitants, circuses, dance halls, nightclubs and racetracks. Toulouse-Lautrec began to exhibit widely, and Vincent Van Gogh’s brother Theo was one of his biggest supporters. While institutionalized for alcoholism, he created an extraordinary group of circus drawings which he created solely from memory.