The landscape of the Tarn is dominated by ‘Pigeonniers’. You can find their contours everywhere, against the hilltops, next to farmhouses etc. Original they were owned by the rich feudal lords.
Since the French revolution in 1789 al the farmers were allowed to have one. De ‘pigeonnier’ were very important because the pigeon manure was very popular in the middle ages.
These days you can see all kind of models and materials: brick, limestone, timbered, square, round or hexagonal, on beams or in model of ‘pied de mulet’ small round stones.
The Pigeonniers are very characteristic for this area and they are the heritage of the Tarn.
Henry de Toulouse Lautrec
Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa was born in Albi in 1864, the firstborn child of Comte Alphonse and Comtesse Adèle de Toulouse-Lautrec.
An aristocratic family (descendants of the Counts of Toulouse and Lautrec and the Viscounts of Montfa) 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.
At the age of 13 Henri fractured his left thigh bone, and at 14, the right.
The breaks did not heal properly. His legs ceased to grow, so that as an adult he was only 1.22 m tall, having developed an adult-sized torso, while retaining his child-sized legs.
He became an important Post-Impressionist painter, art nouveau illustrator, andlithographer; 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.
He was drawn to Montmartre. Tucked deep into Montmartre was the garden of Monsieur Pere Foret where Toulouse-Lautrec executed a series of pleasant plein-air paintings of Carmen Gaudin.
When the nearby Moulin Rouge cabaret opened its doors, Toulouse-Lautrec was commissioned to produce a series of posters.
An alcoholic for most of his adult life, Toulouse-Lautrec was placed in a sanatorium shortly before his death.
He died from complications due to alcoholism and syphilis at the family estate in Malromé at the age of 36. Toulouse-Lautrec's last words reportedly were: "Le vieux con!" ("You old fool!") This was his goodbye to his father.
The invention of the Tremblement de Terre is attributed to Toulouse-Lautrec, a potent mixture containing half absinthe and halfcognac. Throughout his career, which spanned less than 20 years. Toulouse-Lautrec is known along with Cézanne, Van Gogh, and Gauguin as one of the greatest painters of the Post-Impressionist period.
His debt to the Impressionists, in particular the more figurative painters Manet and Degas, is apparent. In the works of Toulouse-Lautrec can be seen many parallels to Manet's detached barmaid at a bar at the Folies-Bergère and the behind-the-scenes ballet dancers of Degas.
He excelled at capturing people in their working environment, with the color and the movement of the gaudy night-life present, but the glamour stripped away.
He was masterly at capturing crowd scenes in which the figures are highly individualized.
At the time that they were painted, the individual figures in his larger paintings could be identified by silhouette alone, and the names of many of these characters have been recorded. His treatment of his subject matter, whether as portraits, scenes of Parisian night-life, or intimate studies, has been described as both sympathetic and dispassionate.