Louis Icart

Louis Justin Laurent Icart was born in Toulouse in 1890 and died in Paris in 1950. Icart entered the Graduate School of Commerce of Toulouse in order to continue his studies for a career in business. He soon discovered however, a love for the theater through the writings of Victor Hugo (1802-1885). It was not until his move to Paris in 1907 that Icart started to focus on painting, drawing, and the production of beautiful etchings, which have served (more than the other mediums) to indelibly preserve his name in twentieth century art history. Louis Icart fought in WWI and relied on art to stem his anguish, sketching on every available surface. When he returned from the front he made prints from the drawings. By the late 1920s Icart, working for both publications and major fashion and design studios, had become very successful both artistically and financially. Art Deco a term coined at the 1925 Paris Exposition des Arts Décoratifs had taken its grip on the Paris of the 1920s. His etchings reached their height of brilliance in this era of Art Deco, and Icart had become the symbol of the epoch in both Europe and America. Icart painted us a picture of Paris in the 1920s and the 1930s in his own style, which derived principally from the study of eighteenth-century French Masters such as Jean Honoré Fragonard. His wife Fanny, whom he met in 1914, was a major source of inspiration for the rest of his life. Icart’s famous portrayal of women is usually sensuous, often erotic, and always embedded in an element of humor. 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.

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