Charles Saatchi's Great Masterpieces: Toulouse-Lautrec conjured a world where an outsider could feel at home

Detail from At the Moulin Rouge by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Detail from At the Moulin Rouge by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Credit: Alamy

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) was born into an aristocratic family, but unfortunately, the wrong one. He suffered from a number of congenital health conditions and a skeletal abnormality related to decades of inbreeding between relatives – his parents were first cousins, as were other members of the family.

By the age of 15, he had broken both of his thigh bones, neither of which healed properly; the result was that his legs no longer continued to grow. As an adult he stood only 4ft 8in tall, and had difficulty walking, relying on the use of a cane. The handicap left Lautrec unable to participate in activities enjoyed by most boys of his age. Frequently bedridden, he immersed himself...

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