Today, a world-class museum opened its doors in Albi.
Ten years of renovation work have gone into making the Musée Toulouse-Lautrec
a major contemporary museum.
On 2 April 2012, a new-look Musée Toulouse-Lautrec was delivered to the public, after a complete facelift.
With nearly one thousand works, paintings, lithographs, drawings and posters, the museum houses the worlds largest public collection devoted to the celebrated 19th Century French painter, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Since 1922, the museum has been housed in the unique setting of the imposing 13th Century fortress, the Palais de la Berbie, which until 1905 was the residence of the Bishops of Albi and is now one of the most important monuments in the episcopal city of Albi, a designated UNESCO world heritage site.
Its new modern interior befits a world-class museum
Renovations began on the Musée Toulouse Lautrec in 2001, with two main goals: to confirm its position as a major contemporary museum, and to highlight the outstanding nature of the ancient building and the site as a whole.
The works were carried out in three phases and included redesigning the museum entrance and locating it in the main courtyard.
Thanks to these renovations, the museum now offers:
a new interpretation of the collections through an informative itinerary and clear, polished new display layouts;
more of the outstanding archaeological treasures of the Palais de la Berbie on display, including several rooms complete with 13th Century medieval tiled floors, some of which will be on view to the public;
improved cultural and research resources including the following new features:
- a 156-seat auditorium built into the main courtyard;
- 470 sq.m of galleries for temporary exhibitions under the Cour de Bernis;
- an educational workshop;
- extensive documentary resource centre;
improved visitor reception and services with a spacious lobby in the Choiseul gallery, a shop and cloakrooms.
two elevators, to improve access to the whole of the museum for all the visitors;
more efficient logistics, heightened security and storerooms for works not on display, designed to museological standards.
areas devoted to the history of the Palais de la Berbie and the Episcopal city of Albi.
The only collection of its kind in the world
The Musée Toulouse-Lautrec houses the worlds largest public collection of works by the famous Albi-born painter. It was bequeathed to the City of Albi in 1922 by the painters parents and provides a fascinating, comprehensive overview of this innovative artists many talents.
The Toulouse-Lautrec itinerary is spread over two floors:
A chronological exploration of his work:
early paintings of horses and landscapes of the family estate at Céleyran; sketches illustrating his progression from his student days to his later works.
A thematic approach:
portraits: his mother, Countess Adèle de Toulouse-Lautrec; his friend Maurice Joyant; his close friends and family. All highlight the painter's ability to capture the essence of a face.
brothels: a feminine world in which Lautrec captured the simple, intimate poses and rituals of everyday life. The canvas Au Salon de la rue des Moulins (1894), one of his more prominent works, is the culmination of his work featuring prostitutes.
Parisian night-life and the stars: Yvette Guilbert, Jane Avril, dancers and stage actors.
An analysis of the artists lithograph technique and creative process, with a display of studies and sketches alongside the 31 posters he produced.