Image of a woman
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See all original artwork by Lous Icart
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 glamourous 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. Icart borrowed whatever books he could find by Hugo at the Toulouse library, devouring the tales, rich in both romantic imagery and the dilemmas of the human condition. 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 was a period of perfection of workmanship, and in this Icart's art is tied closely to the period. He was an expert craftsman and aimed for perfection in his etching technique. Art Deco was also a smart and sophisticated style, and Icart surrounded himself with rich materials, fine furniture, Chinese lacquer screens, and other luxuries. This refinement of taste and the luxury with which he lived also linked him to the opulent spirit of the times. Fashions were undergoing major transition. Women were eager to divest themselves of the heavy overflow of lace, cotton, buckles, and high necklines worn by their mothers. New trends called for higher waistlines, and for clothing that clung to the body rather than billowing out. Icart reflected such 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.