Full size sold for $18,400 US
Poster Auctions International, NY. May 2008
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.
"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).
"Thanks to Livemont's artistry, commerce is again serviced by unflinching female sensuality. Livemont started out as an interior designer in his home town of Schaerbeek, Belgium. He came to poster art after entering a poster contest on a whim and winning it. By 1898, The Poster magazine was calling him "the uncontested master of Belgian posterists." Though one of several posterists often assumed to be disciples of Mucha, Livemont's version of Art Nouveau was in fact well-developed before Mucha burst onto the scene in the 1890s."(Rennert)
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."
"Livemont was the
foremost Belgian practitioner of the Art Nouveau style. His posters invite comparison
to Mucha, but it should be remembered that he had already produced several posters
by the time Mucha created his first. Above all, Livemont was a skilled lithographer,
a quality evident in the subtle colour gradations and detail of this sensual poster"