January 26, 2017, 1:30 PM EST
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Lot 102: ALPHONSE MUCHA (1860-1939). LEFÈVRE - UTILE / SARAH BERNHARDT. 1903. 27x20 inches, 69x50 cm. F. Champenois, Paris.(116 views)
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Estimate: $5,000 - $7,500
ALPHONSE MUCHA (1860-1939) LEFÈVRE - UTILE / SARAH BERNHARDT. 1903.
27 1/2x20 inches, 69 1/4x50 3/4 cm. F. Champenois, Paris.
Condition A-: minor staining in margins and image; with ribbon through holes at top for hanging, as issued. Mounted to period board. Framed.
This poster was one of the last Mucha designed before he left Paris to live in the United States (1904-1910). The idea of associating a celebrity portrait and testimonial with a product seems to have been copied from Mariani, the advertising genius who used this formula to market his wine. For this poster, Mucha depicts Sarah Bernhardt in her beloved role as La Princess Lointaine (a pose he had already captured, in 1896, for La Plume). It is more of a painterly portrait than graphic art, but Mucha is at the height of his artistic maturity and handles his subject splendidly, conveying a far more intimate image of the actress than in any of his other posters. Her printed quotation, often mistaken for her actual inscription and autograph on the poster, reads "I haven''t found anything better than a little LU - oh yes, two little LU." This is a previously unrecorded format. Rennert / Weill 86, Lendl p. 75, Mucha Grand Palais 301 (var), Mucha / Bridges C12.