Color variations in original Louis Icart etchings

Many times I write about antique shows or auctions, but occasionally I like to teach. I taught in the NYC public schools for over eight years in the 1970s, so I guess I still have the teacher in me.

Louis Icart examining Joy of Life, hot off the press

Louis Icart examining Joy of Life, hot off the press

As I specialize in the artwork of Louis Icart, I often write about him. In order to better understand today’s topic, I’ll give a brief refresher course on the process of etching.

The artist starts with a copper plate and uses a combination of drypoint etching tools, and/or acid, to create the artwork directly on the plate. The plate is then hand-inked and covered with a sheet of paper. Together they pass through an etching press that applies tremendous pressure and transfers the image to the paper. If the etching is colorful, the plate is inked again with different colors, and the same sheet is passed through the press again. Registration of the paper is accomplished with tiny pinholes that align the colors. Manipulation of the ink when it’s wet (with wooden tools) is also done to achieve different effects. The result is that even though the artwork is the same on the plate, the final etchings can and do differ.

One variation of Attic Room

One variation of Attic Room

Another variation of Attic Room

Another variation of Attic Room

Above are two images of the Icart etching “Attic Room”. This is one that Icart intentionally issued in a variety of color combinations. Notice the completely different colors in her dress, the birds, the lampshade, the walls, the dresser, etc.

In an extraordinary example, Icart produced a one-of-a-kind color variation of the 1927 etching “Speed”. He gave this as a gift to his daughter, Reine, with a hand-written notation on the etching. Notice the beige dog in the front and the red shoes. To my knowledge, no one has ever seen another example of this variation.

A typical example of the 1927 version of Speed

A typical example of the 1927 version of Speed

A unique variation of Speed, a gift for Icart's daughter, Reine

A unique variation of Speed, a gift for Icart's daughter, Reine

For a nearly complete list of the Louis Icart etchings I have for sale, please click on the following link. Icart etchings for sale.

I’m taking a lot of time to add new items to my website. In the last few days I’ve added to the Gallé glass listings. Please take a look, as every day I’m adding more. Click on this link

Please send me your suggestions or questions about art glass, lamps, Louis Icart, shows, auctions, etc. If it’s interesting, I’ll answer your question in a future blog.

46 thoughts on “Color variations in original Louis Icart etchings

  1. Hey Phil! Great post today, really informative, really enjoyed it. Still loving Scherezade! Hope you all are well.

  2. Hello,
    I own the second variation you show of “Attic Room” and want to find out it’s value for insurance purposes.
    Thank you,
    Susan Neves

  3. I own icart lithos signed and numbered.
    woman and horse.
    three women bathing ,one wearing vivid green hat
    and a few others.
    is there value in these prints


    “Le Cocktail” edition 78/450 signed lower right//stamped “Pari s – Windmill

    “Lady (flapper) lounging in auto looking down on 2 puppies. Car interior in blue leather. Copyright 1929 Louis Icart Paris on top right corner.

    “Looking” 2 girls looking at a book. Copyright 1928 Louis Icart Paris upper right corner.

    “Femme Au Parapluie” edition 88/375 w/ dry stamp of publisher “Giclee” lithograph


  5. oops forgot to ask what their worth would be for insurance purpose.I also have other Icart etchings. Thanks.

  6. Thank you for all of your information. You mentioned that sometimes prints were made in different colors…were they also made in different sizes? I have a copy of Speed…signed at the bottom…in a period frame that it’s never been out of (so i don’t know if it has a windmill stamp or not…but the actual printed picture itself measures 12 x 20″, not the the sizes I see listed in galleries (i don’t know if that’s with edge and matting and frame or not). What do you think?

  7. Etchings come in only one size because the image is transferred by contact from the plate to the paper. The size cannot vary unless a different plate is used. You may have a print, not an original etching. The size of a print can vary.

  8. Hey Phil, I was recently told that Peacock, 1925, was never colored (the peacock itself was always white)in France originally and that there are people in the US that have been doing hand coloring on it for years and are still doing it. Is that true? Thanks.

  9. Wow! Really? So, that would mean that “Louis Icart, the Complete Etchings”, the book published by Schiffer, is wrong. On page 110 it has a large image of Peacock with the birds plumage colored. That is upsetting, it means that even the books that should be the authorities and resources for collectors may feature altered (or maybe even reproduction) pieces?! We are looking at purchasing a Peacock that is colored, but of course if it was colored later, that’s not something we want!

  10. It’s gotten to the point that the colored variation is more valuable, regardless of when it was done (or who did it).

  11. I have a signed 1920 Bewilderment 67/250 with certificate of authenticity. I saw on one site that this hard to get (rare). Is that true? Also, I’d be interested to find out worth for insurance purposes.

    Thank you

  12. Many years ago I purchased 3 antique prints by an artist named Thomas Hardy, His work is very much the style of Luis Icart. When I purchased these prints I was told that Hardy was Icart’s teacher.
    I am unable to find any information to back this up, have you ever heard this?
    Thank you so much for your time.
    Julie Morgan

  13. Dear Phil:

    Happy New Year – I have a framed Icart – The colors are in brown a young woman standing in front of a fountain and the other young woman sitting by the fountain with a colorful parasol. I have never been able to find an image of this. Would you please give me some direction to find out if it is an authentic Icart.There is a signature and the stamp is very hard to see the # 82 or 22 is above that.

    Thank You

  14. Darlene, you can look in the book entitled Louis Icart: The Complete Etchings, or you can get an appraisal from me for $125.

  15. Hi Philip,
    I`m hoping you can help me. I have a cheap print that i purchased online many, many years ago. Le Cocktail Martini, I believe is the name. I adore it and wish to find the original. After reading your article it seems there is not one `original`. Is this true of this etching?
    With gratitude,

  16. Yes, the “original” is actually a limited-edition etching, of an edition of approximately 500. If available, the price would be in the $5,000-$7,500 range.

  17. I have a water color signed by Fanny Icart that belonged to my grandmother is it considered valuable?

  18. Fanny Icart never gained the notoriety of her husband, Louis. I don’t think it has a lot of value. Good luck with it.

  19. i have a Louis Icart for 42 years, was given by a wealthy man when i was a child…still in same frame etc…the title is Les Colombes which means the dove, but i research it the same etching seems to be called tender lessons, what is the difference, i was told never to take out of frame as that can ruin it, is that true? Also, it looks like it signed in pencil, but there is no show of the number of etchings in l.l like others…do i not have to take it out of frame for stamps etc?.. This is on the back…reproduced from the original french etching by special dowco-gravure etchograph process, it this a good thing? As i told this process is old and unused…does it make it be worth more or less than what they do now….i could ask you questions all day, love your site…

  20. Sorry, Janet, but “reproduced from the original french etching by special dowco-gravure etchograph process” is not a good thing. It means it’s not an original etching and only the original etchings, hand-signed by the artist, have any real value.

  21. I have a Louis Icart print about the story of The Red Shoe -the movie not the ballet. Can’t find anything about it. Opera singer holding woman wearing red shoes. Any ideas?

  22. No idea without a photo. If it’s small, it may be from one of the books that Icart illustrated. If you need a definite identification and appraisal, my fee is $125.

  23. Hello! I have an Icart etching on GLASS. I believe the title is “The Sofa”. Icart’s signature in lower right corner. In upper left corner: “Copyright 1937 by L. Icart (Sty ?) N.Y.” The unframed size is 26″ x 18″. It has been stored in our barn for years. Is an Icart etching on glass valuable? Did he do many on glass? It is so lovely! Thank you for any info you can provide.

  24. Icart did most of his etchings on paper and a rare one or two on wood. He never did any etchings on glass.

  25. Thank you for your reply. I am perplexed as to what I have here. Perhaps I used the wrong description of it being etched on “glass” …. it is more like thin casting of resin appx.. 1/8″ thick. When I run my hand over the surface it I can feel the raised etching of the material. The sofa actually feels like horsehair! I found one other Icart on an Ebay search that is described as being on “glass”. The same one is also shown on “Pintrest” under Icart. Both mine & the other have the copyright mark in upper left corner. If these were mass produced repros I’d expect to find more than just one other like mine. My husband who was in the resin casting business believes it was made on a mold because we can see ink residue along the edges.. Did Icart use any other medium for etching other than on copper-plate for the reproduction his work? This piece is definitely old. Sorry to bug you again, but I am stunned and perplexed about this piece. Thanks.

  26. Philip, I recently purchased an Icart, “Fishing”, at auction which is an original but does not have the color that you see in most of the prints. It is an original and is signed but does not have the windmill embossing next to the signature. At first I thought it was sun-faded but the bow in the kitten’s bow is blue so that’s not it. I bought it along with other artwork that came from an estate in the UK. Now I think it is perhaps a gift to the original owners. It is framed beautifully. Should I take it apart and look for an inscription?

  27. I doubt you’ll find an inscription. I’m always suspicious of estate auctions because they’re frequently loaded with bogus items that were never in the original estate. It’s a frequent trick. If you need an absolute answer, my fee is $125 for appraisals/authentications.

  28. What do you need from me for an estimate? I am sure it is real as the other pieces I bought at at the same auction are real. The rugs I bought have been authenticated. I bought one piece which is a mirror in an elaborately gilded frame with a small oil painting on top by FW Watts. This piece I am sending to Christie’s for auction.

  29. Hello Philip,
    Could you please tell me more about Icart etching “Attic Room”.
    I have one and want to no more about it !
    My mother bought iton a market in Paris

  30. Hello Phillip,
    I believe that i may have an Original of Louis Icart, after reading your very informative site, it is signed in pencil with a windmill mark.
    Are the Originals quite valuable? I do appreciate Icarts work very much so i suppose so do thers?. I was left this picture by my French Grandmothet who lived in a house on the estate of the Palace of Versaille.
    It is a picture of a lady in a frilly skirted dress with a parasol.
    It is numbered 2 or 3 I think from memory. It looks as though it has been finished by hand with pen/ Pencil/ink? As when I’ve looked closely and compared to the few i’ve found the same on the internet.
    It is possible that my grandparents may have met Louis Icart, my grandfather was the Director of Le Bank Du Paris.
    Do you think that it would be worth getting it appraised? How do I go about that?
    Many thanks for your help.

  31. Sorry to be a pain, i thought i should explain what i meant by it appears to be hand finished? It has a lot more detail than the same pictures that I can find on the internet. The ink? Pen? Strokes go over the edge of the main printed image into the border a little in places if one looks carefully, is this normal for a Icart print? The main image / body colour is not as vibrant as some of this image that i’ve seen but it does have more fine detail? What do you think? It puzzles me!
    Many thanks!

  32. Hi,
    I recently purchased “Scherezade” and I am not sure if it is an original. It is definitely an etching and it has what appears to be the right signature in the right corner in pencil but it seems to have been etched on a silver paper. It also has a mistake with the rugs blue coloring and looks like that on pass through was slightly off on the line up so you can see that one colored etched down past where the picture ends but only by a smidge. The size and everything else seems correct. Is it possible he could have had a slight mistake on it and that he used silver colored paper?

  33. Sorry, but I can’t tell without photos and then I would have to charge my appraisal fee of $125.

  34. Hi, I have an piece by Icart and would love to know more about it.

    It measures a little more than 16″ x 19″ and is on a Bakelite-like surface.
    Printed on the left is ‘Jaubert @ lie 5 Kue Scribe Paris’
    Printed on the right is ‘copyright 1928 Guy L. Icart-Paris’
    Also, it it signed on the bottom.
    I discovered that the name is ‘Parasol’.
    I feel that it is a decorative piece, i.e., perhaps as a divider of sorts.
    I would appreciate any info you have. Thank you.

  35. Hi Phil,

    I recently bought an oval shape “Lilies” signed by Louis icart. When I Google the same piece, I don’t see any images of oval shape. But I do see many oval shape of other works by icart. How did the oval shape come about? Are those made originally as oval shapes or they were trimmed by various art dealers?

  36. Lilies only came in rectangular shape. It’s possible someone trimmed the etching to fit into an oval frame. If that’s the case, the value is gone. Icart created some oval images originally. These were oval images printed on rectangular paper.

  37. I ave 2 lithographie of Louis i Carr, originales in White and black, one is a lady sitting on a.chair with a dog sitting beside her and the only color in the picture is a rubis red on à ring.

  38. I have an ” LaDame Aux Camelias” Icart print that has the artist’s signature(lower right), the blind seal windmill stamp, embossed Paris stamp, and numbered 162/500…BUT the oval is 17″ X 13 1/2″. The others I have seen online are 17″X 21″in size. I assume mine is NOT authentic. Can you tell me what I have? It is also nicely framed/sealed on the back. I can post photos if necessary.

  39. I have an Icart titled Smoke. It might be an original. But, the signature is on the left which is weird if someone can help me. But is does have the Embossed stamp on it.

  40. I was wondering if you could help me with a question about an Icart that I have. It is called “the bird keeper”, it is 27.5″ x 22.75 and is stamped twice with circular stamps with some wording in a band around the outside and LI 1922 in the center and the of them and it also has the raised windmill stamp. I had someone look at it from a picture but he told me he thought it was a fake because the windmill stamp was not used in 1922. Could you help me with this please?
    Thanking you in advance for your time and assistance.

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