line will take us hours maybe; / Yet if it does not “A seem a moment’s thought, / Our stitching and unstitching has been naught, ” wrote William Butler Yeats (1865–1939) about the creative process (1). For sheer spontaneity, evocativeness, and impeccable draftsmanship, he might have been describing the art of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The artist’s speed at work astonished his friends. Having resolved technical problems in his mind, during the gestation of the image or in countless sketches, photographs, and studies from life, he sang and joked during the brief execution of the work. Lautrec’s remarkable legacy seems to have started at birth in Albi, one of the oldest cities in France, into a wealthy family with ties to the Counts of Toulouse (2). He was an engaging, rambunctious child with precocious wit. At ag
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