Descendant of an old aristocratic French family dating back more than a 1000 years, Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) spent most of his life among the Parisian demimonde, in the twilight of the fin-de-sicle Paris. Lautrec was not one of those mythmakers who doubted the reality of perception. This quality allowed him an astonishing ability to understand the conditions of the socially ostracized milieu, which enabled him to look behind the faade of a crumbling bourgeoisie civilization. The pompous gesture of a mime, a funny hair ribbon, the tired expression of a barman, or the luxurious arrangement of a feather boa fascinated Lautrec. Although women were at the center of Lautrec's interests, nudes only make sporadic appearances in his work.