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Question

Who were the demimonde? How can we learn about this part of French society through the work of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec?

Answer

The term demimonde, originating from French, refers to a group of individuals who are viewed as residing on the outskirts of acceptable societal norms. These individuals, who resided at the fringes of Parisian high society, lived a life that was half within and half outside of respected social circles. Amongst this community were entertainers, actors, singers, and painters, who forged connections and developed relationships with one another. Henri, who was a member of this community, portrayed them as a unified group in his art, as he considered them to be his friends.