Michiels Frères
Privat-Livemont Lithograph: Michiels Frères

Michiels Frères

Georges Privat-Livemont
Michiels Frères
Lithograph
1902

An original Georges Privat-Livemont Lithograph print.

1902

Original lithograph printed in colors on wove paper.

Signed and dated on the stone lower right Privat Livemont – 1902.

A rich and beautifully printed proof impression, printed prior to the addition of the poster text to the panel above the image. Printed by Van Leer & Co., Amsterdam. Yolande Oostens Wittamer, La Belle Époque, Wittamer-DeCamps collection exhibition catalogue, International Exhibitions Foundation, 1980-81, no. 103 (var.)

Catalog:

29 5/16 x 16 1/8 inches

Sheet Size: 43 1/4 x 31 3/4 inches

By 1898, the poster magazine was calling Privat Livemont “The uncontested master of Belgian posterists.” He had dazzled the poster world with delicately drawn design which, while conceive somewhat differently from Mucha’s, created the same final effect of celebrating feminine pulchritude in the service of commercial enterprise. Livemont could not have been a Mucha disciple for he simple reason that he started out earlier, but had had the same penchant for the idealized female, the same meticulous draftsmanship, and the same mystery of the principles of decorative style.

Livemont came to posters by accident, via interior design. After studying it and embarking n it as a career first in his home town of Schaerbeek in Belgium, and then in Paris, where he worked on décor for the Comédie Française, among others, he returned home there, on a whim, entered a contest for a poster for the local art appreciation society. To his own surprise, he won: this got him interested in lithography, and before long, he had his own studio in Brussels. Eventually, he abandoned the field to devote himself to painting in oils; but for few years that he stayed with posters, he produced a number of designs of pristine beauty, nearly always exalting lovely young ladies.

The woman and her child admire the beauty of a garden, shown behind them in subtle, earthy colors, landscaped by the nursery company named on the completed version of this poster when the text appears in the open panel at the top of the image. This poster is a prime example of one of Art Nouveau’s precepts: a reverence for women, always shown in the best possible light. Note the thin halo-like white outline around the ladies profiles, one of Privat Livemont’s special touches.

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