Alphonse Maria Mucha, drawing for textile design, Petunias, Honeysuckle and Berries, 1897-98. Brush and Watercolor. For Carl Gustave Forrer, Paris. Via Cooper Hewitt
"Alfons Maria Mucha (Ivančice, 24 July 1860 – Prague, 14 July 1939), often known in English and French as Alphonse Mucha, was a Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist, known best for his distinct style. He produced many paintings, illustrations, advertisements, postcards, and designs."
Beautiful Muchas in the Julius Paul Collection of posters being auctioned off on 12/18 at Swann.
ALPHONSE MUCHA (1860-1939) OESTERREICH AUF DER WELTAUSSTELLUNG / PARIS 1900. 1899.
39 3/4x27 3/4 inches, 101x70 1/2 cm S. Czeiger, Vienna.
Condition B+: creases, abrasions and light offsetting in margins and image; tears, repaired tears and time-staining at edges; tape on verso; vertical and horizontal folds; text banner affixed to image. Paper.
This image is virtually unique among Mucha’s work, as it does not display a woman posing on her own, but a young ephebe unveiling a generously proportioned lady. It surpasses Mucha’s normal, passively evocative images and borders on the overtly suggestive and sexual. Contemporary publicity explained the image as “Paris revealing Austria to the world;” a marvelous revelation indeed, superbly drawn by Mucha and bathed in a palette of soft, warm earth tones. The right side of the poster was designed by the architect, G. Rossman, and depicts architectural renderings of Austria’s various buildings at the Paris World’s Fair of 1900. When the poster originally appeared, many collectors cut the piece in two and kept only the sensuous half designed by Mucha. This poster has the uncommon addition of a text banner with the train schedule from Vienna to Paris. Rennert / Weill 66, Wiener Plakat 90, DFP-II 649, Triumph des Jugendstils p. 76, Lendl / Paris p. 41, Mucha A45, Cesky Plakat 76.
Estimate $6,000 - 9,000
ALPHONSE MUCHA (1860-1939) HOSPODARSKA PRUMYSLOVA A UM ELECKA VYSTAVA CESKEHO SEVEROVYCHODU V HORICICH. 1903.
62 3/4x26 1/4 inches, 159 1/2x66 3/4 cm. Unie, Prague.
Condition B+: tears, repaired tears and creases in margins and image; abrasions in image; tape on verso; horizontal folds. Paper.
In 1902 and 1903, while still living in Paris, Mucha designed two posters for exhibitions in his home country. Unlike much of his later work when he returned to live in Czechoslovakia, his French-period designs show “him in top form, with Art Nouveau elements and curves rampant throughout the design” (Rennert / Weill p. 302). Here, for an Agricultural, Industrial and Art fair in the northeast Bohemian town of Horcice, he uses the Czech lion as the background for his central halo. Rennert / Weill 84, Lendl / Prague p. 154, Cesky Plakat 78.
Estimate $15,000 - 20,000
ALPHONSE MUCHA (1860-1939) [SLAVIA.] 1907.
22 1/2x14 3/4 inches, 57 1/4x37 1/2 cm. Stenc, Prague.
Condition B+: creases and abrasions in margins and image; vertical and horizontal folds; pencil notations in bottom margin. Paper.
"Slavia," the personification of the Slavic people, was also the name chosen for this bank and insurance company founded in Prague in 1869. With Czechoslovakia still under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the name was clearly intended to attract, assure and perhaps even inspire citizens with Slavic heritage. Designed while Mucha was living in America (note the "NY" he included in front of his name), the image is laden with symbolic imagery. Slavia holds a ring in her hand which symbolizes unity (i.e. panslavism) and on either side of her chair sits a stylized falcon (in Czech, sokol), the name given to the Czech nationalist movement. This poster is based on Mucha’s painted portrait of Josephine Crane Bradley, the daughter of his friend and patron, Charles R. Crane. The image was also used in the 1920s on a Czech 100 krown note. This is the Russian version. Mucha / Posters and Photographs p. 55 (var), Rennert / Weill 93 (var), Cesky Plakat 79 (var).
Estimate $6,000 - 9,000
The West End Review, January 1898. Alphonse Mucha (Czech, 1860-1939).
Mucha’s works frequently featured beautiful young women in flowing, vaguely Neoclassical-looking robes, often surrounded by lush flowers which sometimes formed halos behind their heads. In contrast with contemporary poster makers he used pale pastel colors. Mucha’s style was given international exposure by the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris.
Watercolor, gouache and pencil. ca. 1901. Alphonse Mucha.