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Artwork by Louis Icart

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About the Artist

"Louis Justin Laurent Icart was born in Toulouse in 1890 and died in Paris in 1950. He lived in New York City in the 1920s, where he became known for his Art-Deco color etchings of glamorous women.

The Icart family lived modestly in a small brick home on rue Traversière-de-la-balance, in the culturally rich Southern French city of Toulouse, which was the home of many prominent writers and artists, the most famous being Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Icart entered the l'Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Toulouse in order to continue his studies for a career in business, particularly banking (his father's profession). However, he soon discovered the play writings of Victor Hugo (1802-1885), which were to change the course of his life.   It was through Icart's love of the theater that he developed a taste for all the arts, though the urge to paint was not as yet as strong for him as the urge to act. It was not until his move to Paris in 1907 that Icart would concentrate on painting, drawing and the production of countless beautiful etchings, which have served (more than the other mediums) to indelibly preserve his name in twentieth century art history.

Art Deco, a term coined at the 1925 Paris Exposition des Arts Decoratifs, had taken its grip on the Paris of the 1920s. By the late 1920s Icart, working for both publications and major fashion and design studios, had become very successful, both artistically and financially. His etchings reached their height of brilliance in this era of Art Deco, and Icart had become the symbol of the epoch. Yet, although Icart has created for us a picture of Paris and New York life in the 1920s and 1930s, he worked in his own style, derived principally from the study of eighteenth-century French masters such as Jean Antoine Watteau, François Boucher and Jean Honoré Fragonard.

Icart reflected fashion changes in, for example, his famous and inimitable illustrations for the magazine Luxe de Paris. In 1914 Icart had met a magical, effervescent eighteen-year-old blonde named Fanny Volmers, at the time an employee of the fashion house Paquin. She would eventually become his wife and a source of artistic inspiration for the rest of his life. Icart's portrayal of women is usually sensuous, often erotic, yet always imbued an element of humor, which is as important as the implied or direct sexuality. The beautiful courtesans cavort on rich, thick pillows; their facial expressions projecting passion, dismay or surprise, for the women of Louis Icart are the women of France as we have imagined them to be Eve, Leda, Venus, Scheherazade and Joan of Arc, all wrapped up into an irresistible package."

taken from www.AskArt.com