Katy Burns: A Granite State gem

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 12:45:28 AM. One of this country’s most beloved artists – if one not always esteemed by critics – was New England’s own Norman Rockwell, who gained fame and a modicum of fortune with his prolific production of paintings memorializing ordinary American life.Much of...
One of this country’s most beloved artists – if one not always esteemed by critics – was New England’s own Norman Rockwell, who gained fame and a modicum of fortune with his prolific production of paintings memorializing ordinary American life. Much of his bread-and-butter work was for magazine covers and calendars. For years he was dismissed by his fellow artists as a “calendar artist” turning out kitsch. Today Rockwell’s beguiling work is increasingly esteemed and is sought for museums. It commands prices well into the millions. Another distinctive artist of an earlier generation was Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, scion of a family of minor French aristocracy, who in a prolific but short lifetime created paintings and lithographs depicting a lifestyle as memorable – if a whole lot less wholesome – as that in Rockwell’s “calendar art.” He was drawn to the bars and brothels of the bohemian neighborhood of Paris’s Montmartre, and he particularly celebrated prostitutes and dancers. He, too, was scornfully dismissed by some of his fellow artists, and in 1901 he died at the age of 36 of complications of alcoholism and syphilis. But even by the end of his life he had become popular with ordinary people, and Lautrec’s work – as distinctive in its own way as Rockwell’s – draws big prices and large audiences today. Now Granite Staters have a limited time – through Jan. 7 – to enjoy a collection of Toulouse-Lautrec’s posters and prints at Manchester’s Currier Museum of Art, a true gem of the...Read more
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