London, 20 September 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA)
“Toulouse Lautrec and Jane Avril: beyond the Moulin Rouge”, on show from 16 June to 18 September at Courtauld Gallery, attracted record numbers. According to the gallery’s press release, 97,218 visitors came to see the exhibition; the highest number ever registered.
August was apparently a record month, with 32,675 people passing through the doors to see François Toulouse Lautrec’s (1864–1901) oeuvre. The exhibition explored the relationship between the latter and the dancer Jane Avril (1868-1943), one of the stars of the Moulin Rouge in the 1890s: “Known for her alluring style and exotic persona, her fame was assured by a series of dazzlingly inventive posters designed by the artist (…) Avril became an emblematic figure in Lautrec’s world of dancers, cabaret singers, musicians and prostitutes. However, she was also a close friend of the artist and he painted a series of striking portraits of her which contrast starkly with his exuberant posters.”
Curated by Nancy Ireson, the exhibition gathered paintings, posters and prints from various international collections. The British press has largely welcomed the gallery’s show, with The Independent describing it as “one of the best small exhibitions of the year.”