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March 1, 1965

The Malady of Toulouse-Lautrec

Author Affiliations

From the Université de Paris, Faculté de Médecine, Clinique de Genétique Médicale, Hôpital des Enfants-Malades.

JAMA. 1965;191(9):715-717. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080090029007

Although infirmity and physical suffering have profoundly affected the work of many artists, few lives have been so extensively influenced by illness as that of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Very early, skeletal disorders prevented him from riding, a traditional pastime in his family, and led him towards painting. From then on his physical disgrace constantly directed his life and his artistic efforts.

Many doctors have directed their attention to the very mysterious disease whose victim has given us "Au Moulin Rouge," "Jane Avril," "La Goulue," and so many other masterpieces, but making a retrospective diagnosis in bone pathology is a difficult and extremely risky undertaking when no radiological documents are available. This explains the many theories which have so far been produced on Toulouse-Lautrec's disease. However, as we shall show by brief comments, none of the previous diagnoses is satisfactory.

Among the more distinct episodes in Toulouse-Lautrec's disease, the two fractures