A Woman to Know: Jane Avril
|Julia Carpenter||Apr 1, 2019|
Dancing solo, I created a sensation. — Jane Avril
(image via Wikimedia)
People think Henri Toulouse-Latrec's paintings and posters brought her to life. But it's Jane who brought his art to life.
When Toulouse-Latrec was just another Montmartre local haunting nightclubs and bars, Jane, then a young cancan dancer at the Moulin Rouge, commissioned him to create posters for her legendary shows.
Their friendship continued beyond the stage. He followed Jane in her off-hours, painting her this time in darker shades, away from the warm lights of the Moulin Rouge. She continued dancing into the turn of the century, still headlining shows throughout Europe and traveling with her own cancan troupe.
Jane left the dancing life when she finally got married, to a spendy decorative artist who'd long pursued her. But the husband later abandoned Jane abroad and left her penniless, so she sold many of her belongings — even some of her prized paintings — to make ends meet.
She later returned to Paris, where she lived in a home for retired actors and dancers. She would take the stage one more time at age 67, at a 1935 ball honoring her artist friend, Toulouse-Latrec.
"I have fluttered our way through my epoch," she wrote in her memoirs. "Fate has decreed that I should outlive my friends."
Add to your library list:
Jane Avril, Toulouse-Latrec's muse (The Telegraph)
Moulin Rouge through the decades (The New Yorker)
Toulouse Latrec and the real story of the Moulin Rouge (The Guardian)
Meet Jane Avril, the great muse (Daily Art)
The artistry of Toulouse-Latrec and his dancing muse, Jane Avril (The Wall Street Journal)
Beyond the Moulin Rouge (Courtland Institute of Art)
My Life as a Moulin Rouge Showgirl (Earful Tower)
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