Mucha-do about posters: Classic artwork leads a sale at Swann Auction Galleries



2015-06-26 12:14:49

Mucha-do about posters: Classic artwork leads a sale at Swann Auction Galleries

Several images featuring actress Sarah Bernhardt created by Alphonse Mucha go on sale today

Later today, Swann Auction Galleries is offering another of its classic poster sales in New York. In this case just over 400 lots are going under the hammer with a number of investment-grade pieces listed at four and five figure values available.

The sale is dominated by Alphonse Mucha. Though just 10 of the lots in the sale owe their existence to him these include three of the top four lots.

Alphonse Mucha, was a Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist. Born in the town of Ivanice, Moravia, he was best known for his distinct style and his images of women. He produced many paintings, illustrations, advertisements, postcards, and designs.

Mucha's work experienced a number of revivals of interest for illustrators and artists.

More notably, there was a strong revival in the 1960s (with a general interest in Art Nouveau) and this is particularly evident in the psychedelic posters of Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, the collective name for two British artists, Michael English and Nigel Waymouth, who designed posters for groups such as Pink Floyd and The Incredible String Band.

Alphonse Mucha Job poster Alphonse Mucha 'Job' poster

The most valuable pieces in the sale include a B+ condition poster simply known as Job, dating to 1896. The image of a woman with near-closed eyes and swirling hair is expected to bring $7,000-10,000.

Dating from two years earlier and in similar condition, the poster for Gismonda is expected to attract bids of between $10,000 and $15,000, whilst also from 1896 is a poster for La Dames Aux Camelias (sample pictured)which is expected to bring $15,000-20,000.

Both the last two posters advertise a play in which Sarah Bernhardt is taking part. Bernhardt was once described as "the most famous actress the world has ever known". Either would make a good investment.

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