Pin-Ups: Toulouse Lautrec and The Art of Celebrity at Royal Scottish Academy, October 6, 2018 – January 20, 2019

Pin-Ups: Toulouse Lautrec and The Art of Celebrity is the first NGS exhibition to explore the work of one of the most innovative and popular French artists of the era known as the ‘Belle Époque’. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) was an outstanding painter, printmaker and caricaturist renowned above all for his immersion in the theatrical and celebrity culture of Paris. This exhibition will bring together around 75 posters, prints, paintings and drawings by Lautrec and contemporaries such as Pierre Bonnard, Théophile Alexandre Steinlen and Jules Chéret, the ‘father of the modern poster’. These will include many of the artist’s finest graphic artworks made for legendary nightclubs such as the Moulin Rouge and the Ambassadeurs. The exhibition will also include the work of British artists who were drawn to the dynamic café culture of Paris, such as Walter Sickert, Arthur Melville, JD Fergusson and William Nicholson.

Pin-Ups will capture the colour and excitement of this period of economic prosperity and cultural optimism. This was a climate that gave rise to a new mass-celebrity and consumer culture and a golden age of the poster. Public enthusiasm for these images was such that they were removed from walls by collectors, sometimes as soon as they were put up, a process that transformed ephemeral advertising to a collectable form of fine art which bridged ‘high’ and popular culture for the first time.” — National Galleries of Scotland

Théophile Steinlen (1859–1923). Cabaret du Chat Noir (Poster), 1892. Colour lithograph, 134.5 x 94.7cm. Collection: Victoria and Albert Museum, London. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901). Divan Japonais, 1892. Poster, Colour lithograph, 79.8 x 60.5. Collection: Victoria and Albert Museum, London. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Jules Cheret (1836-1932). La Loie Fuller, 1893. Printer: Chaix (Ateilier Cheret), Paris. Lithograph in red, yellow, dark violet, and black ink on paper, 124 x 84cm. Collection: The Hunterian, University of Glasgow

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901). Jane Avril, 1899. Print, lithograph in coloured inks on paper, 56 x 36 cm. Collection: National Galleries of Scotland, purchased 1963

John Duncan Fergusson (1874–1961). La Terrasse, Café d’Harcourt, about 1908-09 Oil on canvas, 108.6 x 122 cm. Collection: National Galleries of Scotland, long loan in 2001 © The Fergusson Gallery, Perth & Kinross Council, Scotland Photo: A Reeve

Christopher Baker, Director of European and Scottish Art and Portraiture at the National Galleries of Scotland, said: “This fascinating exhibition provides an opportunity to taste the decadence and visual richness of culture in late nineteenthcentury Paris. The elegance and inventiveness of Toulouse-Lautrec’s brilliant designs which helped transform contemporary performers into stars and have an enduring appeal will be set in the wider context of his contemporaries’ riveting work.”

Images courtesy National Galleries of Scotland.