Artist: Privat-Livemont Belgian (1861-1936)
Title: Absinthe Robette
Plate: PL. 104
Original lithograph from "Les Maitres de L'Affiche" series.
Printed by Imprimerie Chaix, Paris, 1898.
Reference: DFP-II, 1062; Maitres, 104; Belle Epoque 1970, 75; Timeless Images, 38; Wine Spectator, 80; Absinthe, p. 134; Masters 1900, p. 88; Weill/Art Nouveau, p. 164; Absinthe Affiches, cover & 105; Livemont, p. 93; Belle Èpoque/Belgique, 246; Schoonbroodt, 6; PAI-LXXXIII, 365
Presented in 16 x 20 in. acid free, archival museum mat, with framing labels. Ready to frame. Shipped boxed flat via FedEx.
Certificate of Authenticity.
Maitre Sheet Size: 11 3/8 in x 15 3/4 in 29 cm x 40 cm
Price: $2600.00 Most Rare
Full size sold for $33,600 US Poster Auctions Int. NY. Feb 2022
With it's immense beauty and it's infamous product, this particular poster has become the most sought after of all the Maitre de l'Affiche series.
"One of the most iconic posters of all time, Livemont’s design for Absinthe Robette perfectly captures the spirit of Art Nouveau. Every element of the image is lavishly decorative yet delicately organic. Holding up her glass with the reverence of a holy relic, we do not see the hand that pours the water over the sugar, adding a mystical, otherworldly quality to the concoction. The background is made up of sensual plumes of mint on green, echoing the milky swirl within the cup." (Rennert)
"Livemont gives us a study in green, shading from chartreuse to olive, because "absinthe was known as The Green Fairy. It was a potent hallucinogen, which Livemont hints at by having the [figure] hold the drink in an attitude of mystic awe, as well as by the use of a strangely convoluted pattern in the background. A classic of inspired product promotion!" (Wine Spectator, 80).
"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.
Self portrait at easel 1893 Oil on Panel
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 décor for the Comédie Française, 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 that he stayed with posters, he produced a number of designs of pristine beauty, nearly always exalting lovely young ladies.."(Rennert)
The drink was often poured over sugar cubes suspended above a cup on a spoon to dilute its bitter taste.
Absinthe, a potent drink made from wormwood, was sometimes referred to as 'the green fairy' for it's colour and it's hallucinogenic properties. The artist therefore puts a green tinge on his whole design and evokes the intoxicating effect in a mysterious Art-Nouveau pattern that's half vegetable, half vapour. The sheerly veiled woman seems to be checking the drink she has mixed for colour and texture. An excellent example of female sensuality used in the service of commerce." (Gold p.32)