The Countess Adèle de Toulouse-Lautrec achieved the acquisition of the Château Malromé with the dowry received from her marriage, and also allowed her to live far from her husband, Alphonse. He was too much eccentric and keen on the bowhunting. Their son, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the famous painter and lithographer, carried out frequent visits to Malromé. « He loved this place, fully thrived here and painted tirelessly ».
Lautrec came to Malromé to relax but appeared very active. He made fine portraits of his family members. His mother, the Countess Adèle was his main model.
He spent the rest of his life in Malromé, and passed away on September 9th, 1901. He was buried in the cemetery of Verdelais.
The landscapes so dear to the painter and the restored apartments of Belle Epoque allow the visitors of the Château Malromé to share the environment of this large family. The living wing of the building is furnished as it was at the time of Toulouse-Lautrec and there, we can find some traces of the famous artist on several walls…
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa was born in Albi in 1864. However he spent his childhood in Paris and in the Aude, at the Château de Celeyran, in an aristocratic family atmosphere where the sense of glory and courage prevailed as well as the passionate taste for horse-riding and hunting. But just like his father, his grandfather and his two uncles, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec adored painting.
In 1878, he was diagnosed with a incurable bone disease which caused him two fractures of the femurs, from then he overcame his infirmity by working even harder. Toulouse-Lautrec lived for his art. He became a Post-Impressionism painter, an illustrator of Art Nouveau and an outstanding lithographer; he sketched the life style of Parisien Bohemia at the end of the 19th century.
The soul of Montmartre and Malromé
He was considered as the “the soul of Montmartre”, the Parisian neighbourhood where he lived. His paintings depicted the life at the Moulin Rouge and in other Montmartre or Parisian cabarets and theatres, he painted Aristide Bruant as well as the residents of the brothels he frequented. In 1891, he immortalized «La Goulue», a star of the music-hall, by making the poster for the Moulin Rouge. It was also him who gave the lithography all its reputation.
Paris attracted the painter by its artificial paradises; Malromé, it seduced him by its softness, tranquillity and truth.
As an unconditional and sophisticated fan of wine, Henri derided with a big sense of humor and summarized his penchant for wine in a funny way: “ When the cows eat grapes, I’ll drink milk.” Henri enjoyed the vineyard and sent barriques of wine every year to Paris and then bottled them by himself with friends in his residence there.
Despite a short life and plagued by the illness, the painter’s works were very wide-ranging. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was a genius and versatile artist: besides the famous Art Nouveau posters, he was a Post-Impressionism painter, an amazing lithographer and a gifted artist. He was recognized by 737 paintings, 275 watercolours, 369 posters and lithographs, and about 5000 drawings. The Museum of Albi gathered most of his works.