Zah Zah Gabor

(Jane Avril, (9 June 1868 – 17 January 1943) in a photograph and in a painting as brought to life by Toulouse-Lautrec and in a movie as portrayed by Zah Zah Gabor.)

I’m sad to hear about the passing of Zah Zah Gabor. While I wasn’t a huge fan I did really like her in John Huston’s 1952 original version of “Moulin Rouge”.
The Original “Moulin Rouge” is a very touching movie depicting the life of painter Toulouse-Lautrec. It was one of the favorite films of my late father and I still think about it every time I see the movie.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) was born the son of a count, but because of his family’s inbreeding, he never grew very tall. He lived in the golden age of Paris, the “La Belle Époque” {the beautiful era} when the city of lights finally came to life after a century of war and revolution followed by a half century of reconstruction.

Jane Avril dances the can-can in a poster by Toulouse-Lautrec.

Paris became the city of light during Toulouse-Lautrec’s lifetime (because of the installation of gas lighting). It is was to Paris that he traveled from his parents home in Toulouse, in the southwestern French department of Haute-Garonne to make his name and fortune as a painter.

Toulouse-Lautrec’s paintings capture Paris in his day and especially the people that lived and worked in Moulin Rouge.

Writer/Director John Huston was originally a painter and a fan of Toulouse-Lautrec. Huston hired a friend and fellow painter who had worked his way through art school in Paris creating counterfeit Toulouse-Lautrec paintings to play the onscreen hands of the artist as he drew in the movie.

Jane Avril was a friend of Toulouse-Lautrec and she was the subject of a number of his most famous paintings and posters. Like Toulouse-Lautrec Jane Avril came from an upper-class background. She had been born Jeanne Beaudon but escaped to Paris to become a dancer after an abusive childhood.

They seem to be an odd pairing but chances are they were never more than just friends. Toulouse-Lautrec painted Avril in many different aspects of life. On state, at the printers, at the photographers etc. She was one of his favorite subjects.

Little is know about Jane Avril’s personality but she is brought to life by Zah Zah Gabor as only one of the Gabor sisters ever could. Avril died in 1943 just 10 years before the movie “Moulin Rouge” came out.

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