Privat Livemont

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      By 1898, The Poster magazine was calling Privat Livemont ''the uncontested master of Belgian posterists.'' He had dazzled the poster world with delicately drawn designs which, while conceived 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 the simple reason that he started out earlier, but he had the same penchant for the idealized female, the same meticulous draftsmanship, and the same mastery of the principles of decorative style.
      Livemont came to posters by accident, via interior design. After studying it and embarking on it as a career first in his home town of Schaerbeek in Belgium, and then in Paris, where he worked on decor for the Comedie Francaise, among others, he returned home and 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 the few years he stayed with posters, he produced a number of designs of pristince beauty, nearly always exalting lovely young ladies.
    
  -excerpted from Posters of the Belle Epoque