Boston Public Library partners with Museum of Fine Arts in new exhibition

The MFA and BPL’s Toulouse-Lautrec show will focus on Parisian women of the late 19th century.
The MFA and BPL’s Toulouse-Lautrec show will focus on Parisian women of the late 19th century.Peter Butler, © The Museum of Modern Art, New York

The Museum of Fine Arts and the Boston Public Library recently announced a new collaboration, “Toulouse-Lautrec and the Stars of Paris.”

The exhibition, scheduled to open in April 2019 at the MFA’s Ann and Graham Gund Gallery, will feature more than 200 works by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Beth Prindle, the BPL’s head of special collections, and the BPL’s chief of communications and marketing, Lisa Mansdorf Pollack, said the show will focus predominantly on Parisian women of the late 19th century.

“We have a number of works that are sort of pieces that show them in action, performing, but also behind the scenes, and that I think is one of those things that’s a really interesting component of Toulouse-Lautrec’s work,” Prindle said, “that he had both the boldface celebrity aspect of it but also the very humble human side of it as well.”


The endeavor is part of a greater effort by BPL to showcase the institution’s various collections, prints, and rare books, by making them more available and visible. Throughout June, BPL cardholders will be able to sample MFA membership and participate in programming throughout the library’s 25 branches.

“Inscribed in stone over the library entrance on Dartmouth Street, it says ‘free to all,’ and this is very much about that,” Pollack said. “The free admission piece, that’s the ‘free,’ but the community collaboration, that’s the ‘all’ part of it. We wanted to make these works accessible across neighborhoods, across ages, really across a variety of constituencies, so that’s why we chose to do it that way.”

Lillian Brown

Lillian Brown can be reached at lillian.brown@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @lilliangbrown.