Lot 293: ALPHONSE MUCHA (1860-1939). JOB. 1896. 20x15 inches, 52x40 cm. F. Champenois, Paris.
August 6, 2014
New York, NY, USALive Auction
ALPHONSE MUCHA (1860-1939) JOB. 1896.
20 1/2x15 3/4 inches, 52x40 cm. F. Champenois, Paris.
Condition A: minor creases in margins and image. Matted and framed.
Job cigarette rolling papers, offered in small packets, were the brainchild of Jean Bardou, a baker in Perpignan. On the cover of these booklets he put his initials separated by a diamond. The public interpreted this as "Job," and the name stuck. Bardou was both a patron of the arts and a man with exceptional vision in regard to advertising. He commissioned Jules Chéret, Pal, Leonetto Cappiello, Firmin Bouisset and Toulouse-Lautrec to design posters for his company. Mucha designed two posters for Job. The first is this charming, small format piece featuring the bust of a woman with extravagant hair. She appears to be the same woman he depicted on his poster for the Salon des Cent's 1896 exhibition. While Mucha saw the other poster as "an unfinished design," he viewed this image for Job as complete. The "exquisite arabesque of luxuriant hair . . . became the artist's trademark over the next few years" (Rennert / Weill p. 82). No longer based on reality, the hair on Mucha's maiden became an entirely decorative element, as did the smoke rising from her cigarette. The borders and the poster's title are designed to look like a mosaic, and in the background, Mucha ingeniously utilizes a stylized version of the company's logo as another decorative element. Rennert / Weill 15, DFP-II 635, Maitres pl. 202, Lendl 49, Spirit of Art Nouveau 20, Wember 609, Weill 58, Triumph des Jugendstils p. 57.