Trash or Treasure: French Artist Depicted Glamorous Age

Khristi Zimmeth
Special to The Detroit News

Jerry Munro’s mom, Hetty Munro, worked for more than 20 years at the legendary downtown Hudson’s store. When she passed at age 92, he inherited a number of works of art, including two works by French artist Louis Icart, that Jerry believes she bought at the store. He brought both to an appraisal session held recently at the Michigan Design Center in Troy.

Gerald Munro with his paintings.

Brian Thomczek took a closer look, filling him in on not only the works’ value, but a little background about the still-popular artist. “Icart did dry-point etchings and lithographic prints,” he told him. “His works are very stylized, and many included dogs, often Russian wolfhounds and greyhounds, which were a favorite.”

According to the website artnet, Icart is “best known for his drawings of glamorous women—often erotic or mildly humorous in tone—as well as for his depictions of 1920s Paris life.” Born in Toulouse in 1888, he  began drawing at a young age and later moved to Paris, where he studied painting, drawing, and printmaking. “Influenced by Jean Antoine Watteau, François Boucher, and Jean Honoré Fragonard, he became a major figure of the Art Deco period, with his work surging in popularity in both the United States and Europe throughout the 1920s and 1930s. He also worked as a designer in fashion studios during a time when the industry was undergoing a major change, moving away from the conservatism of the 19th century towards a more progressive simplicity,” the site continued.

Munro had two Icarts, both bearing Hudson’s labels. One image, known as E148, bears a 1930 copyright in the upper left and is signed in pencil in the lower right. “This one has both birds and a rainbow,” the appraiser explained, pointing to woman in loose and flowing clothing dancing in the middle of the frame.  “They are not as common but I did find others that were similar. Because it’s unusual subject matter it would bring more.” The other image, A124, is smaller and of a nude woman lounging on pillows seen from behind. “He was also known for nudes,” the appraiser explains. “He had different models early in his career, but used his wife later on.”

 “They are very pretty and are in good condition overall,” he added. The first one would command a little bit higher value, approximately $1,000 to $1,200 at auction.  “There is no foxing or acid burns, which is a plus." The Hudson’s labels are another plus, the appraiser said. “If they have Hudson’s labels on them, I know to pay attention. Hudson’s sold some very, very good art and was known for quality.”

The smaller one had some condition issues, which brought the price down a little bit.  “It has some yellowing and a small amount of foxing. You could get it fixed but it’s a painstaking job. And it can hurt the value,” something he estimated at $800 to $1,100.

“Icart is very famous and well collected,” he added. “It’s a very stable market so they both should continue to go up in value. You really can’t go wrong with an Icart.”

Do you have an object you would like to know more about? Send a photo and description that includes how you acquired the object to: The Detroit News, Trash or Treasure?, 160 W. Fort St., Detroit, MI 48226. Include your name and daytime telephone number. You may also send your photo and description to If chosen you’ll need to bring the items to an appraisal session. Letters are edited for style and clarity. Photos cannot be returned.

About this item

Items: Icart etchings

Owned by: Jerry Munro

Appraised by: Brian Thomczek

Estimated value: $800 and up