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Louis-Philippe Hébert

The Nicotine Sprite


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


The Nicotine Sprite




Partially gilded bronze


53.2 x 26.4 x 15.3 cm (with base)


Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. 1994.10


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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