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Currently shown
Louis-Philippe Hébert

The Nicotine Sprite

Artist

Louis-Philippe Hébert
Sainte-Sophie-d'Halifax, Quebec, 1850 – Westmount, Quebec, 1917

Title

The Nicotine Sprite

Date

1902

Materials

Partially gilded bronze

Dimensions

53.2 x 26.4 x 15.3 cm (with base)

Credits

Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. 1994.10

Collection

Quebec and Canadian Art

Only a few copies were made of The Nicotine Sprite (also called The Smoker’s Dream). Its style and narrative content set it apart from the majority of Hébert’s compositions and illustrate the presence of Symbolism in his work. A female nude rises from the bowl of a pipe grasped firmly in a man’s hand. Supple and sinuous, entwined in vine-like curls of smoke, she is a lascivious creature who intoxicates the smoker. The tangle of arabesques and the sensual aestheticism conjure up the inaccessible beauty typical of Symbolist reveries.

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