Henri Privat-Livemont


Henri Privat-Livemont


This early 20th-century oil painting by Belgian artist Henri Privat-Livemont (1861-1936) depicts the artist in thought.

The fabulous art nouveau period with its sinuous lines, natural forms, and flowing architecture was the making of Henri Privat-Livemont. His sensuous posters featuring attractive females are now iconic, highly sought after and on par with his celebrated contemporary, Alphonse Mucha.

He began his career as a decorative designer, more of a muralist, working in ‘sgraffiti’. But found his way into poster design purely by chance, after winning a local competition. Before long, numerous brands were hounding him with commissions, particularly following his masterpiece for Absinthe Robette.

Here, in a self-portrait from 1923, we see his wily experienced eyes musing on his next work. By the 1920s, the fashions were changing towards Art Deco and he’d begun to focus more of his time on painting.

During the latter part of his career, he continued to depict the female form and as you can see from the figures above, he appears to be reminiscing about a previous (or upcoming) work.

This is a remarkable museum-worthy collector’s piece for anyone who appreciates Art Nouveau.

Signed/dated lower left and framed.

Medium: Oil on panel
Overall size: 13½” x 17” / 35cm x 43cm
Year of creation: 1923
Provenance: Private collection, Belgium.
Condition: Artwork presents well. Fine craquelure but the paint is stable. Frame with some light wear.
Artist’s auction maximum: £25,480

Henri Privat-Livemont

Henri Privat-Livemont

Renowned Belgian artist Henri Privat-Livemont is primarily known for his sensuous art nouveau posters but also for producing some of the finest examples of ‘sgraffiti’ wall decor. He trained at the studios of Lemaire, Lavastre & Duvignaud in Paris and, during the early part of his career, undertook various decorative projects for prestigious Parisian patrons - both public and private. He became a poster designer somewhat by chance after winning a competition in Schaerbeek and this defining moment led to him producing many of the most iconic designs of the period. He’s often compared with his eminent contemporary Alphonse Mucha. He’s represented in numerous public collections including at the V&A.

Learn more about Henri Privat-Livemont in our directory.

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