Henri de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC | Albert (René) Grenier (Monsieur Grenier: painter [Monsieur Grenier: artiste peintre])

Henri de TOULOUSE-LAUTREC
France 1864 – 1901

Albert (René) Grenier (Monsieur Grenier: painter [Monsieur Grenier: artiste peintre]) 1887 oil over pencil on wood panel on wood panel
34.0 (h) x 25.4 (w) cm
Inscribed (verso): Mon portrait par / Toulouse Lautrec / en 1887 / atelier rue Caulaincourt / [Grenier?] (My portrait by Toulouse Lautrec in 1887 studio rue Caulaincourt)
Reference: Dortu P.304 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Bequest of Mary Cushing Fosburgh, 1978

In late 1882 Lautrec began studying at a new teaching studio in Paris, the Atelier Cormon. Among his fellow students he made some key friendships: Louis Anquetin (called ‘big guy’ by Lautrec with both humour and irony, given his own stature), Vincent van Gogh, Emile Bernard and Albert (René) Grenier, who was to be a lifelong friend.

Grenier’s wealthy family had not wanted their son to become an artist, yet he prevailed – although leaving only a limited body of work in a modified Impressionist manner, such as the loosely painted and drawn portrait of his partner, Lili, which he made during his student years.[1]

Lautrec depicts his twenty-nine-year-old friend dressed in elegant but casual garb, appropriate for an up-and-coming artist.
He is wearing:

a turn-down collar, possibly with a similar ascot to Emile Bernard in his portrait by Lautrec, and a high-buttoned waistcoat fashionable in the 1880s. It seems to have a fabric-covered button in the same colour as his tie, which suggests that he may have been dressed quite formally for this sitting, and removed his formal coat.[2]

Grenier appears to be adopting a pose as a serious artist who looks out from the picture plane. His bright blue eyes are in stark contrast to his skin tone made up of washes of pinks and creams, his reddish-brown hair, moustache and beard, and the subdued orange overlaid with brown background. The technique Lautrec has employed is experimental, with washes of oil paint laid over a pencil outline.

René and Lili Grenier lived in a large apartment in Montmartre at 19 bis rue Fontaine, which became a meeting place and the social centre for like-minded students at Cormon’s. Amateur photographs taken by fellow student François Gauzi show them indulging in the light side of student life – at parties, dressing up and playing games.[3]

The Grenier apartment became a frequent home for Lautrec following his return to Paris from his family’s estates in October 1884, after the summer break. For the next two years he often stayed at the apartment, drawn by the conviviality of his host and by the company of other avant-garde artists who gathered there. Lautrec was to spend many of his most joyful occasions at Grenier’s apartment. Another important factor for Lautrec was that his great idol, Edgar Degas, also lived in the same apartment building and kept a studio there.

JK   

[1] 1884–88, Art Institute of Chicago.

[2] Robert Bell, in correspondence with Jane Kinsman, 28 August 2012.

[3] Georges Beaute, Toulouse-Lautrec vu par les photographes, Lausanne: Edita SA, 1988.

In late 1882 Lautrec began studying at a new teaching studio in Paris, the Atelier Cormon. Among his fellow students he made some key friendships: Louis Anquetin (called ‘big guy’ by Lautrec with both humour and irony, given his own stature), Vincent van Gogh, Emile Bernard and Albert (René) Grenier, who was to be a lifelong friend.

Grenier’s wealthy family had not wanted their son to become an artist, yet he prevailed – although leaving only a limited body of work in a modified Impressionist manner, such as the loosely painted and drawn portrait of his partner, Lili, which he made during his student years.[1]

Lautrec depicts his twenty-nine-year-old friend dressed in elegant but casual garb, appropriate for an up-and-coming artist.
He is wearing:

a turn-down collar, possibly with a similar ascot to Emile Bernard in his portrait by Lautrec, and a high-buttoned waistcoat fashionable in the 1880s. It seems to have a fabric-covered button in the same colour as his tie, which suggests that he may have been dressed quite formally for this sitting, and removed his formal coat.[2]

Grenier appears to be adopting a pose as a serious artist who looks out from the picture plane. His bright blue eyes are in stark contrast to his skin tone made up of washes of pinks and creams, his reddish-brown hair, moustache and beard, and the subdued orange overlaid with brown background. The technique Lautrec has employed is experimental, with washes of oil paint laid over a pencil outline.

René and Lili Grenier lived in a large apartment in Montmartre at 19 bis rue Fontaine, which became a meeting place and the social centre for like-minded students at Cormon’s. Amateur photographs taken by fellow student François Gauzi show them indulging in the light side of student life – at parties, dressing up and playing games.[3]

The Grenier apartment became a frequent home for Lautrec following his return to Paris from his family’s estates in October 1884, after the summer break. For the next two years he often stayed at the apartment, drawn by the conviviality of his host and by the company of other avant-garde artists who gathered there. Lautrec was to spend many of his most joyful occasions at Grenier’s apartment. Another important factor for Lautrec was that his great idol, Edgar Degas, also lived in the same apartment building and kept a studio there.

JK   

[1] 1884–88, Art Institute of Chicago.

[2] Robert Bell, in correspondence with Jane Kinsman, 28 August 2012.

[3] Georges Beaute, Toulouse-Lautrec vu par les photographes, Lausanne: Edita SA, 1988.

In late 1882 Lautrec began studying at a new teaching studio in Paris, the Atelier Cormon. Among his fellow students he made some key friendships: Louis Anquetin (called ‘big guy’ by Lautrec with both humour and irony, given his own stature), Vincent van Gogh, Emile Bernard and Albert (René) Grenier, who was to be a lifelong friend.

Grenier’s wealthy family had not wanted their son to become an artist, yet he prevailed – although leaving only a limited body of work in a modified Impressionist manner, such as the loosely painted and drawn portrait of his partner, Lili, which he made during his student years.[1]

Lautrec depicts his twenty-nine-year-old friend dressed in elegant but casual garb, appropriate for an up-and-coming artist.
He is wearing:

a turn-down collar, possibly with a similar ascot to Emile Bernard in his portrait by Lautrec, and a high-buttoned waistcoat fashionable in the 1880s. It seems to have a fabric-covered button in the same colour as his tie, which suggests that he may have been dressed quite formally for this sitting, and removed his formal coat.[2]

Grenier appears to be adopting a pose as a serious artist who looks out from the picture plane. His bright blue eyes are in stark contrast to his skin tone made up of washes of pinks and creams, his reddish-brown hair, moustache and beard, and the subdued orange overlaid with brown background. The technique Lautrec has employed is experimental, with washes of oil paint laid over a pencil outline.

René and Lili Grenier lived in a large apartment in Montmartre at 19 bis rue Fontaine, which became a meeting place and the social centre for like-minded students at Cormon’s. Amateur photographs taken by fellow student François Gauzi show them indulging in the light side of student life – at parties, dressing up and playing games.[3]

The Grenier apartment became a frequent home for Lautrec following his return to Paris from his family’s estates in October 1884, after the summer break. For the next two years he often stayed at the apartment, drawn by the conviviality of his host and by the company of other avant-garde artists who gathered there. Lautrec was to spend many of his most joyful occasions at Grenier’s apartment. Another important factor for Lautrec was that his great idol, Edgar Degas, also lived in the same apartment building and kept a studio there.

JK   

[1] 1884–88, Art Institute of Chicago.

[2] Robert Bell, in correspondence with Jane Kinsman, 28 August 2012.

[3] Georges Beaute, Toulouse-Lautrec vu par les photographes, Lausanne: Edita SA, 1988.



Image detail: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec La Goulue entering the Moulin Rouge [La Goulue entrant au Moulin Rouge] 1892
The Museum of Modern Art, New York Gift of Mrs David M. Levy