Lot 97: ALPHONSE MUCHA (1860-1939). LA PASSION. 1904. 79x28 inches, 201x72 cm. F. Champenois, Paris.
January 26, 2017
New York, NY, USALive Auction
ALPHONSE MUCHA (1860-1939) LA PASSION. 1904.
79 1/4x28 1/2 inches, 201 1/4x72 1/2 cm. F. Champenois, Paris.
Condition B+: repaired tears and minor restored losses along horizontal creases through image; staining in bottom margin and central image; rippling in image. Two-sheets. Framed. Unexamined out of frame.
"La Passion was a drama by Edmond Haraucourt in seven acts describing the last days of Christ. The play was accompanied by music by Johann Sebastian Bach. La Passion, printed by F. Champenois, Paris, is one of Mucha''s most heartfelt posters, expressing his love of church music in a simple but very moving design. Christ''s pensive, fatigued expression reflects Mucha''s own emotional response to the event. Using a tall, narrow format, he framed Christ''s head with a large circle of red passionflowers and thorny branches. He chose the passionflower for the presumed resemblance of its parts to the instruments of the crucifixion. In the far distance are faint images of the three crosses of Calvary and a dome representing a mosque or the Temple of Jerusalem. The lower part of the background includes a diagonal flow of stars. The simple vertical lines on the right side of Christ''s robe contrast with the rich folds on the left, where his hand holds a smaller wreath of thorns" (Spirit of Art Nouveau p. 172). "This is one of Mucha''s rarest and most sensitive posters. Note the use of the stars in the background, not seen since La Dame Aux Camelias and La Samaritaine" (Rennert / Weill p. 312). rare. We have found only three other copies at auction since 1994. Lendl p. 63, Brno 53 (var), Rennert / Weill 88, Mucha Grand Palais 308, Mucha / Henderson 95 (var), Mucha / Bridges A52, Spirit of Art Nouveau 31.