Lowell Lecture

Helen Burnham, “Toulouse-Lautrec in the Company of Women”

Date & Time

May 16, 2019 at 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.


Boston Public Library - Rabb Lecture Hall
700 Boylston Street Boston, MA 02116
Driving Directions


Helen Burnham is the Pamela and Peter Voss Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Her primary area of expertise is in the art of nineteenth-century France, for which she received a Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, in 2007. Prior to joining the MFA in 2008, she was an assistant curator at the Musée d’art américain, Giverny, and a research assistant at the Frick Collection, New York. She participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program as a Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellow (2000).

Dr. Burnham is the curator of Toulouse-Lautrec and the Stars of Paris in collaboration with the Boston Public Library and on view at the Museum of Fine Arts from April 7 – August 4, 2019. She was the co-curator of Matisse in the Studio, at the MFA from April 9 – July 9, 2017 and at the Royal Academy in London from August 1 – November 12, 2017. The Wall Street Journal described the Boston installation as “nothing short of a revelation—and not just about Matisse. I can think of no other exhibition that has told us so much about what artists do and how they think.” At the MFA, Dr. Burnham has organized a number of exhibitions from the collection, including a major traveling show entitled Looking East: Western Artists and the Allure of Japan, which traveled to Japanese as well as North American venues and was seen by more than 500,000 visitors. Her smaller installations have included Millet and Rural France (2009) and Manet in Black (2012), and she was the host curator for Leonardo and the Idea of Beauty (2015), as well as Michelangelo Sacred and Profane: Masterpiece Drawings from the Casa Buonarroti (2013).

Presenting Organization

Boston Public Library


The Arts

The Boston Public Library houses one of Toulouse-Lautrec’s most important and beautiful series, a portfolio of intimate works dedicated to women. In this lecture, Helen Burnham, the Pamela and Peter Voss Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston considers the portfolio, entitled Elles, in the context of Lautrec’s representation of female celebrities, a major focus of the exhibition currently on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.