Lot 483: Gismonda / Théâtre de la Renaissance. 1894
October 30, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: Artist: ALPHONSE MUCHA (1860-1939) Size: 29 1/4 x 85 7/8 in./74.2 x 218.2 cm Imp. Lemercier, Paris "This is the poster that launched Mucha's career and introduced a new artistic style into commercial lithography. Prepared by Mucha as a rush order for Sarah Bernhardt's theatre during the Christmas period of 1894, when the printer could not find any other artist available, it is a sensitive portrayal of the actress in an ornate costume for a deeply religious play that has her, in the third act, carry a frond in a Palm Sunday procession. The full size of the poster gives the viewer an opportunity to get the full effect of the lengthy robe; the Byzantine mosaic decoration emphasizes the biblical background; Sarah's pious expression faith; and the gentle pastel hues whisper the commercial message instead of shouting it. It was a radical departure from prevalent poster styles, and Paris took notice of the fact. Sarah Bernhardt was so grateful she made Mucha one of her protégés, and for the next few years he was the darling of Parisian high society. During this period, art nouveau and style Mucha were synonymous, and his ideas on composition and decoration were taught in every art school. It is doubtful that any other single poster has ever had such far-reaching consequences for its creator and his whole epoch" (Lenl/Prague, p. 41). (great art nouveau)
Condition Report: B+/ Partially recreated margins; slight tears at seam.
Dimensions: 29 1/4 x 85 7/8 in./74.2 x 218.2 cm
Artist or Maker: ALPHONSE MUCHA (1860-1939)