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Toulouse Lautrec

Hotel Omm

The cultural center Caixaforum presents since October 18 a great exhibition that can not be missed, Toulouse-Lautrec and the spirit of Montmartre, a unique exhibition to learn more about French radical art of the late nineteenth century


In 1880, Montmartre was a poor, marginal place that did not even form part of Paris. However, in a relatively short span of time, the area was transformed into the literary and artistic centre of the French capital. The “spirit” referred to in the title was a feeling, an avant-garde mentality that infused the work of many artists of the time. Outstanding among these was Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who played a key role, introducing extraordinary aesthetic advances.

Through 345 works loaned by collections from around the world, the show examines the rich exchanges that took place among a score of like-minded artists during Toulouse-Lautrec’s short lifetime and a brief period thereafter.

The exhibition also illustrates the vital role that ephemeral artistic productions -etchings, posters, illustrations for books and the press, designs for music scores and so on- played in the careers of Toulouse-Lautrec and his contemporaries: all this provided them with the means of reaching wider audiences and earning a living outside the restrictive academic system.

The unique building where Caixaforum is housed was the factory owned by the cotton industry Casimir Casaramona, specialized in making blankets and towels. Casaramona commissioned the project to Josep Puig i Cadafalch, one of the most prominent architects of Catalan Modernism, who designed a model factory, a horizontal construction, consisting of a set of single-storey buildings, which facilitates the movement of goods through a system of internal streets that at the same time also served as firebreaks, a similar system was used in the construction of the Hospital de Sant Pau. The “La Caixa” Foundation acquired the building in 2002, and decided to restore it, modernize it and adapt it for cultural and social uses.

Toulouse-Lautrec and the Spirit of Montmartre. Dates: From 18 October 2018 to 2 January 2019. Place: CaixaForum Barcelona (Av. de Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 6-8).