Louis Icart was born in Toulouse, France. He began drawing at an early age. He was particularly interested in fashion, and became famous for his sketches almost immediately. He worked for major design studios at a time when fashion was undergoing a radical change-from the fussiness of the late nineteenth century to the simple, clingy lines of the early twentieth century. The Icart family lived modestly in a small brick home on rue Traversière-de-la-balance, in the culturally rich Southern French city of Toulouse, which was also the home of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Icart fought in World War I. He relied on his art to stem his anguish, sketching on every available surface. It was not until his move to Paris in 1907 that Icart would concentrate on painting, drawing and the production of countless beautiful etchings.
Art Deco, a term coined at the 1925 Paris Exposition des Arts Decoratifs, had taken its grip on the Paris of the 1920s. Icart's etchings reached their height of brilliance in this era of Art Deco, and Icart had become the symbol of the epoch. He worked in his own style, derived principally from the study of eighteenth-century French masters such as Jean Antoine Watteau, François Boucher and Jean Honoré Fragonard. In Icart's drawings, one sees the Impressionists Degas and Monet and, in his rare watercolors, the Symbolists Odilon Redon and Gustave Moreau.
Icart's portrayal of women is usually sensuous, sometimes erotic, yet always imbued an element of humor, which is as important as the implied or direct sexuality. The women of Louis Icart are the women of France as we have imagined them to be Eve, Leda, Venus, Scheherazade and Joan of Arc, all wrapped up into an irresistible package.