Friday, April 12, 2013


Henri Toulouse- Lautrec used his art to capture the personalities of a specific world at an exact moment in time: the night life in the cafes, cabarets, theaters, dance halls and brothels of Montmarte in Paris from 1885 to his death at 36 in 1901. He produced 537 paintings, 314 lithographs and 30 posters
in his brief life, many of the works on paper are contained in his exhibit at the New Britain Museum of American Art until Sunday, May 12.

As a teenager, he suffered leg fractures which stunted his growth.  His alcoholism also affected his health and hastened his death.  A color poster of the Moulin Rouge night club brought him instant success and he went on to illustrate menus, book covers and theater programs.  His extreme life style made his artwork vivid and dramatic, as he lived with his subjects, but it also contributed to his premature death.

This exhibit is but one of the many fascinating ones on display year round.  "The Brilliance of Louis Comfort Tiffany,"  as painter and craftsman, will begin May 24 and run until September 29. The opening reception is Thursday, May 30 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.  If you go, say hello to the stern but welcoming guard at the door to the first gallery, look for the picture made almost entirely of nails, the wall installation of 20,000 paper cups, the amazing blown glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly, the giant tribute to 9/11 and the room of murals of America painted by Thomas Hart Benton.

Know that every Sunday from 1-2 p.m., there is a docent led American Masterpieces tour as well as many art and explorer activities for children and adults.  The First Friday of the month features a jazz concert.  Museum hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 5 p.m., Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10-5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.  Free admission is Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Plan to stay for lunch in the cafe and visit the museum gift shop. It is located at 56 Lexington Street.

Visit the New Britain Museum of American Art to discover the treasure trove of surprises it contains.

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