When contemplating art, the question that consistently tickles at the edge of our minds, no matter how disciplined we attempt to be, is always “what was the artist thinking?” And so part of the beauty of artists’ sketches is that they reveal to us a bit about what preoccupied their creator. In our Important Spring Auction
, we are offering a set of sketches by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901), whose darkly tragic life offers plenty of subject for speculation.
Toulouse-Lautrec was famously crippled at a young age by a congenital defect as the result of inbreeding - his parents were first cousins, and were not the only family members to marry. Toulouse-Lautrec was a sickly child, with weak bones. His family were aristocratic equestrians, and Toulouse-Lautrec broke both legs in separate riding accidents, after which his legs stopped growing. Toulouse-Lautrec’s torso developed normally, but he never grew taller than four foot eleven, and walked with a cane for the rest of his life.