Artist Toulouse-Lautrec celebrated the dancer and many others
Although Jane Avril (born Jeanne Beaudon) was not a particularly strong singer, she was celebrated for her explosive and erratic dancing, and nicknamed La Mélinite, after a type of dynamite.
Avril likely met Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in the early 1890s, when she was performing at the Moulin Rouge. The two became fast friends, and she commissioned posters from him throughout her career.
In Jane Avril, Lautrec’s poster of her, he depicts her in the midst of a high kick, framed by a musician cast in shadow. The framing device supports the illusion that the viewer is sitting in the orchestra, close enough to Avril to reach out and touch her. Part of the “In the Limelight” exhibit at the Bruce Museum until January 7, 2018.