Alphonse Mucha (Czechoslovakian, 1860-1939)
Art Nouveau lithograph from 1896 as printed in Les Maîtres de l’Affiche, volume I, plate 27
A smaller version of Mucha’s iconic first poster of Sarah Bernhardt
Color lithograph on wove paper
Sheet: 14 /18 x 5 3/8 inches
Sight: 12-7/8 x 4-1/4 inches (32.7 x 10.8 cm)
Printed by Chaix, Paris
Framed: 23 X 13.25 Inches
At 34, and almost half of his life, Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) seemed to be kind of an unfortunate lad. Imagine yourself, for instance, going to Vienna because you finally found a job, and, shortly after you arrive, your workplace burns down! Mucha made it to Paris though, and one Fine Christmas day in 1894, a woman stepped into his life and changed everything. Doesn’t that give hope? Okay, he did not quite win the heart of that woman – but that would have been expecting too much given who she was: Sarah “G.O.A.T.” Bernhardt. (You don’t know Sarah Bernhardt? Click me, I’m concise information and a photo!) She needed a new advertisement poster for her latest play, Gismonda, and she needed it quickly. Mucha, not really having any experience in designing posters but being the only designer around on Christmas, seemed to be the perfect choice, and he produced this poster.
Pictured in Alphonse Mucha: The Complete Posters and Panels, by Jack Rennert and Alain Weill, G.K. Hall & Co., Publishers, Boston, page 48
Images by Heritage Auction Gallery.