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Biography - Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec Monfa was born in Albi, Tarn in the Midi-Pyrenees region of France, the firstborn child of Comte Alphonse and Comtesse Adele de Toulouse-Lautrec. An aristocratic family (descendants of the Counts of Toulouse) that had recently fallen on hard times, the Toulouse-Lautrecs were feeling the effects of the inbreeding of past generations; the Comte and Comtesse themselves were first cousins, and Henri suffered from a number of congenital health conditions attributed to this tradition of inbreeding (see below). A younger brother was born to the family on 28 August 1867, but died the following year.
At the age of 13 Henri fractured his left thigh bone, and at 14, the right. The breaks did not heal properly. Modern physicians attribute this to an unknown genetic disorder, possibly pycnodysostosis (also sometimes known as Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome), or a variant disorder along the lines of osteopetrosis, achondroplasia, or osteogenesis imperfecta. Rickets aggravated with praecox virilism has also been suggested. His legs ceased to grow, so that as an adult he was only 1.54 m (5 ft 1 in) tall, having developed an adult-sized torso, while retaining his child-sized legs, which were 0.70 m (27.5 in) long. He is also reported to have had hypertrophied genitals.
Physically unable to participate in most of the activities typically enjoyed by men of his age, Toulouse-Lautrec immersed himself in his art. He became an important Post-Impressionist painter, art nouveau illustrator, and lithographer; and recorded in his works many details of the late-19th-century bohemian lifestyle in Paris. Toulouse-Lautrec also contributed a number of illustrations to the magazine Le Rire during the mid-1890s.
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