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Jane Avril dances on: Images from the Courtauld’s Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition

As you can see, the exhibition that I visited yesterday was colourful to say the least. Viewers were offered many types of visual stimuli – paintings, preparatory studies, newspaper articles, Moulin Rouge programs and Toulouse-Lautrec’s other sketches and lithographs. It was a comprehensive exhibition squeezed into a few rooms of this expansive gallery, which is set in the grounds of Somerset House.

I would have liked to have seen some of the secondary resources made more accessible, as they were crammed into low glass boxes which were easily dominate by just a few people, meaning that the rest of the room had to wait their turn to see what was available. Other than that gripe, I learned a lot here and I felt that the Courtauld really celebrated the relationship between Toulouse-Lautrec and his dancer muse. They also didn’t mock her dancing style, which many people have done in the past, instead choosing to explain that her spasmodic movements had a medical background and she received treatment in an institution because of it. There was a sensitivity here which was very admirable, especially as it would be all too easy for people to make flippant comments about art and madness.

My full review can be seen on the Artface website, by clicking here.


About Polly

I'm a journalist, based near Brighton. This blog, which is separate from my professional life, will document my reaction to current affairs, as well as some personal projects.


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