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Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer


Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer (1865–1953) played an important role in reviving decorative art in France at the end of the 19th century. His poetic and melancholy style was suited equally to landscapes and people, in both paintings and decorative schemes. Described as ”a painter of souls”, his oeuvre also includes Symbolist portraits.

Lucién Lévy-Dhurmer was born under the name Lucien Lévy into a Jewish family in Algiers and trained as a sculptor at the École Supérieure de Dessin et de Sculpture in Paris, where he was admitted in 1879. He exhibited a small porcelain plaque at the Salon in 1882. From 1886 to 1895 he worked first as a designer then as a ceramist and later as artistic director of Clément Massier’s studio at Golfe- in the south of France.

By the mid-1890s he began working in oil and pastel and changed his name to Lévy-Dhurmer (adapted from his mother’s maiden name of Goldhurmer). In 1896 he exhibited around twenty pastels and paintings at the Galerie Georges Petit in Paris. Whistler’s works, Impressionism and the writings of Georges Rodenbach were the inspiration for his atmospheric urban scenes in Venice and Bruges. He was also known for his images of melancholy young women, influenced by the work of the English Pre-Raphaelites. From 1901 onwards Lévy-Dhurmer abandoned Symbolism, although he continued to draw inspiration from music.