Sunday, October 7, 2012

What the Art Teacher Wore #37

Late-for-a-Very-Important-Date-Dress Monday: Sadly, it was a rainy Monday and my Hunter boots hid my amazing tights by Teja Jamilla. dress and belt: Alice-in-Wonderland wannabe dress by me, DIY here; Hunter boots, ebay
Hey, dudes. I hope you don't mind that along with my outfits this week, I'm sharing with you my current obsession: Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. My students are currently learning about him (he ties in so neatly with our all-things-Paris theme) and I've developed a bit of a crush on him, his work and the story of his life. I've been reading about him to the kids using my favorite series of books: Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists. And while the book is an excellent resource, it leaves out much of the dark side of his life. Which is a good thing. Angry parent phone calls aren't my favorite. But, personally, I love the dark stuff. To me, it's like vintage TMZ or a retro USWeekly. I eat it up.

So, here you go. My duds and Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. Enjoy!
Who doesn't love a cute guy with a beard and a sense of humor? Love this double self-portrait created pre-photoshop. The way Vincent van Gogh is notoriously famous for cutting off (just the lobe!) his ear, Toulouse Lautrec's small stature is probably his most recognizable trait. The cause? Well, his parents were first cousins. The inbreeding resulted in his many health problems, including his fragile bones and limited growth. I opted not to share that with the kids. I live in the south, the whole marrying-your-first-cousin thing might be a little too close to home (I kid!). Images via pinterest.
Sadly, every time I see these posters, I think of the movie Moulin Rouge. Which I did not love. Try to block it out. The real Moulin Rouge (which translates The Red Mill -- the mill was attached to the building) was a cabaret theater where the patrons could even receive lap dances. That's Jane Avril, the Moulin Rouge's most popular dancer, in the middle. I love that her top-of-the-head bun has made a comeback.
Messy Art Room Tuesday: Oh, let's be honest, when is it not a messy art room? dress and sweater: vintage, thrifted; yellow tights and fishnet stockings: Target; Jane Avril-wannabe shoes: Softee

 So it's no secret that Toulouse Lautrec had a muse: Jane Avril. The story of her life is quite the Dickens-tale as well: abused as a child, she ran away from home only to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital. There she discovered her love of dancing. Later she became the headliner at the Moulin Rouge. Her graceful style of dancing contrasted the other cancan dancers of her time. She was meloncholic and thoughtful which is probably what drew Toulouse Lautrec to her. She can be found in many of his sketches and posters advertising the Moulin Rouge.
While I love Toulouse Lautrec's posters, I think these sketchy paintings of his are my favorite.
Flex-and-Bust Wednesday: I wore this thrifted vintage dress for the first time...and I kept hearing a tearing sound as I was working with the kids. This happens to me and vintage more times than I'd like to admit. Turns out the sleeve fabric had dry rotted and I tore a small hole right at the shoulders. Nothing a patch can't fix. dress: vintage, thrifted; belt: borrowed from another dress; sweater: Ann Taylor, thrifted; shoes: Anthro
Toulouse Lautrec painted many of these dancers and many prostitutes as well. He said about painting them: "A professional model is like a stuffed owl. These girls are alive." Except when they are sleeping, of course. 
Another Toulouse Lautrec-ism: "I paint things as they are. I don't comment. I record." He added no superficial beauty, just the beauty in what he saw.
"Love is when the desire to be desired takes you so badly that you feel you could die of it."
Halloween Horror Thursday: More details on our latest Halloween adventure soon. dress: made by me, details here; sandals: Chaco
Toulouse Lautrec was friendly with such troubled artists as Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin (don't tell me that dude wasn't troubled, he painted more underage South Pacific girls than any man should). I love his portrait of van Gogh. 
Forever Friday: Wouldn't that be lovely? How much more would we live each day if it were a Friday? top: BCBG; skirt: Anthro; sandals: Target; sunnies: Rayban; belt: gift from a friend
Sadly, Toulouse Lautrec's life ended too soon. He was just in his mid-thirties when he died of alcoholism. After a life of pain, both his body and from the abuse he took for his small stature, he died young as so many great artists do.
Thankfully, he worked his tail off during his lifetime and left behind a huge body of beautiful work. I can't seem to get enough of his scenes of everyday life. I hope you have enjoyed them as much as I have sharing them.


  1. Thank you for these little art lessons for us big kids! Now I don't feel so bad about not being a little artist in your class.

  2. Vegas? Were you there or are you going? I am currently in an airport on my way home from...drumroll please... VEGAS!

    1. Wow, well have fun! No, I wasn't in Vegas nor have I ever been. We were at a haunted Halloween event in Orlando and one of the haunted houses had a Vegas theme. Enjoy your trip!

  3. Forever Friday outfit is so cute! Love the sandals! :)

  4. I am so glad someone else did NOT like Moulin rouge. couldn't even watch the whole thing!
    Love your what you wore posts, keep it up!! you would be my favourite teacher.

  5. Toulouse Lautrec is tha bomb! His charcoal and oilpastel drawings are very funny, and at turns touching or harsh.

    I might have to steal the Alice in Wonderland outfit, it's so well put together. The little bunny belt is adorable.


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