Bath gallery displays 1890s Parisian artwork in exclusive Lautrec exhibition

A complete collection of posters from 1890s Paris have arrived in Bath, in the UK’s only chance to see them.

Toulouse-Lautrec and the Masters of Montmartre opens at the Victoria Art Gallery on Friday 26 April.

One hundred of Lautrec’s original posters are on display, before they move to their new permanent home in Belgium, following a five-year international tour.

With bright colours and bold lines, the artwork captures the essence of Parisian nightlife.

More than 30 pieces, including Lautrec’s first poster of the Moulin Rouge, and the cancan dancers of La Troupe de Mademoiselle Eglantine will be shown alongside works by other celebrated artists.

The museum says the exhibition will explore the vibrancy of these artworks with a contrasting backdrop of a city recovering from war and rebellion.

Following the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, the posters by Lautrec and his contemporaries offered promises of entertainment and consumerism in Paris and brought much needed colour and hope to the city.

Katharine Wall, Victoria Art Gallery curator, said: “Toulouse-Lautrec was at the cutting edge of art in the 1890s, he moved in fashionable circles and elevated the status of colour posters into artwork.

“Although associated with glamour and decadence, fin de siècle Paris was more complex than it first appears.

“Politically, there was great instability and division, but many of France’s problems were masked behind a growing consumer culture and the worlds of music, dance and theatre, which is reflected in the posters we’ll be showcasing in Bath.

“The exhibition offers a time capsule of this era of change, transporting visitors back to turn of the 19th century Paris – and we can’t wait to see the gallery come to life with the colour and characters of Montmartre.”

Councillor Paul Roper, Cabinet Member for Economic Cultural Sustainable Development, added: “It’s a joy to host this major exhibition at the Victoria Art Gallery, and a ringing endorsement of Bath as a must-visit cultural destination.

“Lautrec’s artworks are instantly recognisable, evoking the heady atmosphere of bohemian Paris, and we’re proud to be able to bring these internationally acclaimed artworks to Bath.”

Creative family trails and activities will bring the artwork to life for younger art lovers, and there will be hands-on craft activities during May half-term and the school summer holidays.

The work will be explored with an audio tour and information about all of the exhibits on the Bloomberg Connects app.

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