Author: Dr. Gotthard Jedlicka
Publisher: Barnes and Noble
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is an English
saying used to express the fact that not all people have the same opinions about what is attractive. There is another saying that I cannot remember quite well but is something like “If you pay $1,000 for a painting is because you like It, but if you pay $100,000 for It is because it like to others.”
Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa (24 November 1864 – 9 September 1901) is among the best-known painters of the Post-Impressionist period, with Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, and Paul Gauguin. “He was a French painter, printmaker, draughtsman, caricaturist, and illustrator whose immersion in the colourful and theatrical life of Paris in the late 19th century allowed him to produce a collection of enticing, elegant, and provocative images of the modern, sometimes decadent, affairs of those times”, that is what the Wikipedia has about Lautrec.
This book (an old book my daughter found in a bookstore for vintage and rare books) is a short essay on Toulouse-Lautrec work. Of course, The author of this book praises the work of the painter and give us a short glimpse of his life. But, how can you really know what was on painter’s mind? How can you know what he was feeling? I have always been thinking of the different ways in which art appreciation is taught, and whenever I find one way, method or technique that makes it a wider taught than any other, I cannot stop thinking theres is no way nor teacher that can taught you to feel a painting, book or sculpture. This is something extremely personal and something that only you (by what you have lived, felt, watch, thought, loved and hated) can feel. So, no matter how much the author praised Lautrec’s works I only can understand or to know about the reasons behind the techniques, materials, brushes or canvas used at that moment but despite the most accurate and enthusiastic description I cannot share totally what the autor tell me. For me, his description or interpretation remain as the picture itself.
So, Toulouse-Lautrec works for me are something depressive, obscures and melancholic. Certainly, I cannot deny how fascinating is the way the painter transform shapes and blobs into a figure or… should I say how marvelously our minds transform that into something that we can understand?