There is no shortage in the annals of history of historical figures who were not big on celibacy or marital fidelity, and many of them made frequent use of prostitutes, and visited whorehouses on a regular basis. However, some historical figures took that to another level, and had an out-and-out obsession with prostitutes.
Following are ten such historic figures, who were obsessed with working girls.
French Painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Liked Working Girls So Much, He Lived in Brothels
French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864 – 1901) made Parisian nightlife, and France’s world of entertainment in general, his specialty, which he documented with great psychological insight. Among the pioneers of the Post-Impressionist period, he ranks along the likes of Van Gogh and Gauguin. His work was marked by an extreme simplification of outlines and movement, and the frequent use of large color areas. His private life was marked by a fixation on prostitutes, which spilled over into his art and influenced his paintings.
In his teens, Toulouse-Lautrec broke his thigh bones in a pair of accidents, and the mishaps required extensive periods of painful convalescence. He filled the lonely hours by painting. The accidents left him with atrophied legs, and made walking very difficult for the rest of his life. He moved to Paris in the early 1880s, and devoted himself to becoming an artist. He also devoted himself to the nightlife and prostitutes.
When he was not in Parisian brothels, Toulouse-Lautrec frequently visited cabarets in Paris’ Montmartre district, such as the Moulin Rouge, where he associated with many courtesans – prostitutes, but of a higher caliber. The Moulin Rouge actually reserved a table for him every night, and displayed his paintings. He also enjoyed checking out the theater, circus, and dance halls, in the company of prostitutes.
As much as he liked prostitutes, they liked him back: they befriended Toulouse-Lautrec, modeled for him, and even supported him when he was financially strapped. Prostitutes and madams accepted the crippled artist as a fellow outcast, and he liked their company so much, that he would sometimes pack up and move into brothels, living there for months on end. He got a special kick out of shocking people by giving the address of famous brothels as his place of residence.
He was allowed to freely wander around the establishments, sketching and painting what he saw as the muse took him, and he became known for his paintings of prostitutes. He lived in an era when prostitution was widespread, and most men routinely made use of their services. Still, even in the socially liberal France of the late 19th century, hookers were a taboo subject. Toulouse-Lautrec broke the taboo by depicting prostitutes in his art as they were. He neither glamorized nor vilified them, but simply depicted the everyday life he shared with them in a near-documentary fashion. He died at age 36 from advanced syphilis, which he got from one of his prostitute friends.