Louis Justin Laurent Icart was born in 1888 to a modest family in Toulouse, France. From the moment of his birth he was dubbed 'Helli'. As a boy Helli was fond of literature, and particularly loved Victor Hugo. His love for the theater made him become determined to be an actor in spite of his father’s disapprovals. Upon his family’s wish Louis was schooled in business. He obtained a diploma when he was sixteen years old and tried to get a job. Regrettably, he was faced with an obligatory military service. The period he spent in the army was quite unfortunate, and after it was over Icart headed to Paris.
While waiting for the 'proper' job, Icart worked at a small studio that designed and distributed postcards. This studio was modeled after the large company of Alfred Noyer. Icart’s duty was to hand-color the works of other artists. Icart's employer produced photographic and artist drawn images of female models, and exported those postcards abroad. Icart's involvement with the postcard company was crucial for his later artistic and stylistic growth. The subject matter he was exposed to eventually became his hallmark.
Icart never received a formal education in visual arts. However, during his involvement with the postcard company, he was creating his own designs and postcards. They all have “Helli” as his signature. In the course of only one year, from 1907 to 1908 he created hundreds of postcards.
Alike many artists of the time, Icart used to live in deprivation and poverty. But the time of hard work and persistence finally resulted in a tremendous success. Icart was introduced to the world of fashion in the French capital. He designed for the best design studios and his life changed for the better.
In 1914 Icart fell in love with Fanny Volmers and soon she became his wife and model for many of his etchings. The French and American audience was delighted by his magazine covers and etchings of beautiful women. At the time, he was signing his work with 'Louis Icart'.
By the mid 1920's Icart's reputation rose, and the images he created then are now considered to be 'classic Icart'. At the time he lived in New York City where he became famous for his Art-Deco color etchings of glamorous women portrayed in various settings. In the 1930's Icart's oeuvre became more imaginative and bursting with color. The women portrayed were more independent and provocative.
Louis Icart died in 1950 in his home in Monmartre in Paris.