By 1898 Privat Livemont was called “The uncontested master of Belgian posterists.” He dazzled the poster world with delicately drawn design, which celebrated the idealized female via meticulous draftsmanship. Michiels Frères (1902) is an original lithograph printed in colors on wove paper. A woman and her child admire the beauty of a garden, shown behind them in subtle, earthy colors. Signed and dated on the stone at the lower right “Privat Livemont -1902,” this is a rich and beautifully printed-proof impression, printed prior to the addition of the poster text to the panel above the image. This print is in excellent condition, with strong, fresh colors printed on a sheet with full margins. It is also linen backed.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.
This work is part of a carefully curated selection by noted fine art expert Jennifer McCloskey, who was formerly affiliated with Doyle Gallery in New York and is now based in San Francisco.