Lot 108: ALPHONSE MUCHA (1860-1939). MONACO • MONTE - CARLO. 1897. 42x29 inches, 108x74 cm. F. Champenois, Paris.

Swann Auction Galleries

January 26, 2017, 1:30 PM EST
New York, NY, US
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Description: ALPHONSE MUCHA (1860-1939) MONACO • MONTE - CARLO. 1897. 42 5/8x29 3/8 inches, 108 3/8x74 5/8 cm. F. Champenois, Paris. Condition A / A-: minor creases in margins and image; slight ragged trimming at bottom margin. Framed. By the late 1890s, Mucha''s fame was such that he was called upon to help advertise travel to one of the Riviera''s most elegant locales. The resulting image represents the perfect advertising combination, equating Mucha''s exquisite talent with the inherent luxury of the destination. The image also shows how Mucha was allowed to interpret his commissions almost any way he chose. This is by no means an average travel poster. The coastline and sea of Monte Carlo are barely visible through the staggeringly-effusive sunburst of "curving stalks of lilacs and hydrangea, featuring some of the most intricate conflorescences (sic) ever painted by Mucha" (Rennert / Weill p. 136). Mucha''s maiden has her back turned to the few visible features of the region and is instead facing the viewer in an almost beatific pose. It has been postulated that Mucha''s design might have been suggesting the wheels of a train and the train tracks that would bring travelers to Monte Carlo, or perhaps even the curve of a roulette wheel in the resort''s famous casino. What is certain is that Mucha never went so far in his depiction of flowers and floral ornamentation as in this poster. "Here Mucha harmonizes accurate realization and decorative stylization" (Spirit of Art Nouveau p. 165). His extravagant renderings, accomplished even more brilliantly via the use of metallic inks, manage to achieve a previously inconceivable concept: Mucha''s diagonal movement within the image is actually curved! Rennert / Weill 31, Wine Spectator 73, Voyage p. 15, Train p. 16, Brno 29, Mucha Grand Palais 55, Darmstadt 57, Mucha / Henderson 70, Mucha / Bridges A21, Spirit of Art Nouveau 24, DFP-II 639, Lendl p. 111.
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