In 2011 I wrote a blog post about a magnificent graduation diploma that we had in the shop (you can find the original post here).
No ordinary diploma, this one had been created by Henri Privat-Livemont, a Belgian Art Nouveau artist. Born in 1861 in Schaerbeek, Belgium Privat-Livemont died in 1936, also in Schaerbeek. He studied art at the Ecole des Arts Decoratives in Saint-Josse-ten-Node, near Schaerbeek. After winning a scholarship, he lived in Paris, from 1883 to 1889, during which time worked with the firm of Lemaire, Lavastre & Duvignaud in decorating the Theatre Francais and the Hotel de Ville.
As I wrote in my original post, “Best known for his Art Nouveau posters, Privat Livemont is often compared to Alfons Mucha, but to my eye, Privat Livemont was much softer and loving in his approach to women – while Mucha’s work sometime illustrates an almost aggressive eroticism (in my humble opinion), Privat Livemont was always respectful and generous in his depiction of feminine beauty.”
Because they are highly collectable and often very expensive, Privat Livemont posters have become quite rare. Auction prices (always a good indicator) have consistently increased, as availability has decreased. Which is why, when I was contacted early this year, by a well-known American museum, and asked to loan our Rajah poster, I wasn’t entirely surprised. The Norton Museum of Art, located in West Palm Beach, Florida, will, in February 2015, be hosting an exhibition about the fine art of tea. As their exhibition précis notes:
The exhibition “is the first to focus on the fine art of tea in high society worldwide, and highlight the critical role played by Koreans and Central Asians in shaping significant tea traditions…
Throughout time and regardless of place, tea gatherings in high society stand as efforts on the part of the host/hostess to create a memorable experience underscoring some aspect of their erudition. Objects in the exhibition illustrate important events in each culture as well as major cross-cultural interactions that created new milestones in tea culture.”
Rajah, 1900, which is exceptional for the effective use of the white outline, will be the centerpiece of a mise-en-place for the exhibition, and will be framed for the occasion by the Norton. L’Affichiste often works with museums – we provide expert evaluations, loans, archival advice – and each time we do, we are happy, for our posters love to travel and are attention magnets wherever they go.
We think that Henri Privat-Livemont would be as tickled to have his great auburn-haired beauty on display as we are, and we look forward to seeing the exhibition when it opens early next year.