Privat Livemont (1861-1936)
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Privat Livemont was a Belgian Art Nouveau illustrator and poster artist. His style was similar to that of fellow poster artists Alphonse Mucha and Louise Abbema. There is some speculation over whether Livemont was an imitator of Czech artist Mucha, but in fact, Livemont began creating posters far before Mucha ever did, and used a much more vivid color palette.
Born in Brussels, Livemont began his first artistic studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Saint-Josse-ten-Noodle. He won a scholarship in 1883 that brought him to Paris where he studied for the following six years, studying at the Ecole Etienne-Marcel under Delaporte. While he was there, Livemont worked in the theater painting stage designs and architectural decoration, including decorating the Opera House in Paris.
In 1889, Livemont returned to Brussels and began his career as an artist, creating paintings and prints. He began to work with poster art in 1890, but by 1900, LivemontÕs career as a poster artist was in full swing. While many poster artists had a workshop of students or assistants helping to engrave their images during print making, it is said that Livemont always cut the lithography stones himself. Like some Art Nouveau artist, Livemont also borrowed from classical Oriental styles sometimes if it fit the purpose of his posters.
In general, Livemont created posters for events and advertisements of popular products of the day; absinthe, tea, chocolate, coffee, perfume, expositions, oriental bitters and a variety of others. He mainly created posters for companies in France, Belgium and Amsterdam, and his script is typically in French. In general, his posters featured beautiful women engaged in luxurious activity, such as porcelain painting or simply musing with fruit and flowers, or the product that the poster was intending to sell.
While Livemont is best known for his advertisement posters, he continued to create illustrations, sketches and paintings all throughout his career. Though they would be rare, he certainly painted still life, landscapes and figure studies as a student and early in his artistic training.
Throughout his career, Livemont also created a number of wall murals and frescoes in the same style as his poster art, in theaters and casinos in Brussels. Today his work is housed worldwide, in Europe and the Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco. Still wondering about a vintage poster or Art Nouveau painting or sketch in your home? Contact us…it could be by Privat Livemont.