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Woman Sculpting and Woman Painting


Henri Privat-Livemont
31 3/4'' x 23 1/2''

From 1890 to 1900, Privat-Livemont created over 30 posters. In addition to his artistic successes, he was also a talented printmaker. Instead of creating an image and hiring a lithographer to transfer it, Livemont drew on the actual stone himself. These particular prints, one of which is hand-signed, were executed as decorative panels for display in a home.

Celebrating the process of creation, both panels have a decorative background influenced by not only the Arts and Crafts movement but also by the long tradition of fine Belgian lace. In “Woman Sculpting,” a woman admires her work in front of a green background. Above her is another panel in red, decorated with an intricate pattern of flower buds that mimic the flow of her hair. The woman stands admiring her sculpture, which is rendered with the same amount of care and detail as the woman. The only indications that she is not a real woman herself are in her placement and claylike color.

The second panel inverts these complementary colors. A woman dilligently paints in front of a red background with a green cornice, the movement of which reverses its partner. In this piece, the viewer cannot see the product of this woman’s labors as in the first. The blooming flowers in the background convey that the importance rests not in her completion, but in the act of creation itself.

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