A French Art Nouveau 18 karat gold and enamel pendant by André Rambour. The pendant depicts a maiden within an enamel iris which is suspended by fancy link chain and an enameled foliate top.Shown in the Poster House (New York) exhibition "Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau./Nouvelle Femme," June 20-October 6, 2019.
A French Art Nouveau iridescent enamel-glazed ceramic charger by Clément Massier, after a design by Alphonse Mucha, depicting a woman''s profile in Byzantine dress and jewels. The particularity of this ceramic plate is that it combines Massier''s talent as a ceramist and Mucha''s talent as a draftsman. Indeed, the blond Byzantine head depicted on the charger was originally designed by Mucha in 1897, as part of his artistic diptych "Byzantine Heads."
A French Art Nouveau 18 karat gold pendant with diamonds, pearls and peridots. The pendant features a plique-à-jour background with rose-cut diamonds with an approximate total weight of .60 carat, 3 freshwater pearls and 3 pear and round-cut peridots with enamel decoration surrounding the profile of Juliet.Shown in the Poster House (New York) exhibition "Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau./Nouvelle Femme," June 20-October 6, 2019.
An American Art Nouveau 18 karat gold and enamel pendant brooch with opals and chrysoprase by Marcus & Co.. The pendant brooch has 6 cabochon white opals, 63 cabochon chrysoprase stones and plique-à-jour enamel. Suspended from the brooch is an opal and chrysoprase pendant drop. Detachable brooch finding and flip-down bail.The multi-generational New York firm of Marcus & Co was founded by an ambitious young German immigrant who had trained at a prominent Dresden court jeweler. In 1892, after working with Charles Lewis Tiffany, Hermann Marcus and his sons William and George together set up a business that soon became a glittering New York society institution renowned not only for its superb diamonds, colored stones and pearls, but also its instantly recognizable, original design style. The firm produced great jewels in the Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts sensibility, with George, the artist/designer, drawing inspiration from sources as diverse and exotic as the contemporary French masters, the Moghuls and Maharajahs, the garland style of the Ancien Regime, and the genius of Renaissance goldsmiths. George''s distinctive, confident hand was always discernible in Marcus creations. Working as a team with George, his brother William was a gem and pearl connoisseur who travelled the world hunting fine gem material, including purchasing the entire production of never-before-seen black
opal in Lightning Ridge Australia in 1908. Marcus exhibited at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris, and their work won prizes at the prestigious Society of Arts & Crafts of Boston. Plique-a-jour enamel was an art in which Marcus & Co. excelled, creating jewels with unprecedented three-dimensional depth in this medium. The firm and family were well-known for their charitable activities and promotion of young jewelers such as Raymond Yard.Shown in the Poster House (New York) exhibition "Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau./Nouvelle Femme," June 20-October 6, 2019.
A French Art Nouveau gold and plique-à-jour enamel pendant with opals, freshwater and natural pearls by Georges Fouquet. The pendant has 11 opals, 13 freshwater pearls and one natural saltwater pearl. The pendant is designed in a flowing foliate motif with plique-à-jour enamel leaves floating over translucent opals and decorated with clusters of pearls. With signed G. Fouquet box.Shown in the Poster House (New York) exhibition "Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau./Nouvelle Femme," June 20-October 6, 2019.
A pair of French "Byzantine Heads" lithographs by Alphonse Mucha. The mastery evident in creating two archetypes of the female form against a decorative background confirms Mucha''s artistic maturity. Both women, portrayed in profile, have their heads decorated with beautiful jewelry, the richness and oriental nature of which suggested the name Byzantine Heads for the series. The subtle differences in details between the images are worth noticing. This is the first appearance of the perfect form of Mucha''s often-used motif, a circle framing each head interrupted by a strand of hair. With this device, it is as if Mucha''s unreachable beauties have broken the magic border between themselves and their admirers and suggest the possibility that they might, perhaps, meet. (Mucha/Art Nouveau, p. 192). In this version, Mucha added corners filigreed with curves to the original circular designs in order to create the standard rectangular shape of decorative panels. This is the rarest of all variants. Pictured in "Alphonse Mucha, The Complete Posters and Panels", by Jack Rennert and Alain Weill, page 167, cat. 40, variant 1.
A French Art Nouveau silver cloak clasp with opals by Georges Fouquet. The cape clasp is decorated with 14 bezel-set crystal opal plaques. The clasp is designed as two intertwined peacocks with extravagant whiplash ''feathers''. Inspired by a noted collaboration with the renowned Art Nouveau innovator Alfonse Mucha, this cloak clasp in all its exquisite detail and voluptuous lines perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the period. Its peacock theme was a favorite motif of Fouquet and Mucha. A similar piece is pictured in Alastair Duncan''s, The Paris Salons, 1895-1914: Volume I, Antique Collectors'' Club, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1994, page 251.
A pair of French Art Nouveau lithographs, "Dawn and Dusk," by Alphonse Mucha. These two panels, both representing reclining female figures, are among the few horizontal formats produced by Mucha. These two ladies represent the terminal points of the sun''s daily journey. Dawn is represented by a girl removing the coverlet from her nude torso as she looks towards the rising sun. Dusk is a somnolent beauty settling down in her bed under the last rays of the day. Some of the most delicate pastel shadings are used by Mucha to differentiate one from the other. Pictured in: "Alphonse Mucha, The Complete Posters and Panels", by Jack Rennert and Alain Weill, G. K. Hall, 1984, page 258-259, plate 70.
A French Art Nouveau "La Plume - Zodiac" lithograph by Alphonse Mucha. With Zodiac, Mucha reaches the full maturity of his style, with every one of his signature design elements in their most fluid and elaborate incarnations. The image was originally published as a calendar by F. Champenois but was quickly bought by La Plume, who began issuing it as a calendar with their own name at the top. The image was a huge success and was ultimately used for a variety of different advertising purposes. This lithograph is discussed in: "Alphonse Mucha: The Complete Posters and Panels", by Jack Rennert and Alain Weill, Boston: G.K. Hall & Co., 1984, pp. 100-102 and pictured in the same volume on p. 103 (var 1).
A French Art Nouveau lithograph, "Hamlet", by Alphonse Mucha. Mucha designed several posters for the actress Sarah Bernhardt. Here she is shown in the role of Hamlet, performed in her theater in Paris in 1899. In the background is an evocation of the night scene in Elsinore Castle and in the banderole below is an image of the dead Ophelia. Signed in the lower left-hand corner. Hamlet was one of several male roles Bernhardt performed. Shakespeare''s play was adapted in French for her by Eugène Morand and Marcel Schwab. Pictured in "Alphonse Mucha: The complete posters and panels", by Jack Rennert and Alain Weill, page 239 (cat. 63).
A set of four French Art Nouveau lithographs titled Les Saisons ("The Seasons") by Alphonse Mucha. This set is one of three that Mucha designed to represent the four seasons. Here, the seasons are depicted as sumptuous young women with surroundings that symbolize the seasons for which they are allegories. All four of the brilliantly colored panels are signed. Spring is depicted as a beautiful, rosy-cheeked woman with long blonde hair that reaches almost down to her ankles. The contrapposto figure is fashioning a lyre from a verdant green branch, using her luscious golden hair as strings. Songbirds flock to the allegorical figure, adding to the aural aura that this airy piece emits. Summer sits lethargically at the side of a pond, dipping her feet into the cool water and resting on a branch of ivy. She wears a crown of crimson poppies and her thin white robes appear to be falling off with the heat of the summer day. Autumn''s hair is a deep, rich, reddish-brown, which echoes the colors of the dried leaves in the trees and on the ground below her. The allegorical figure is not looking directly into the viewer''s eyes, but rather to the bountiful grapes she holds in her hand. She is crowned with the fall-blooming flower, chrysanthemum. Winter is wrapped in an icy blue shawl and is surrounded by snowy branches. The viewer is left to wonder if the allegorical woman is qu
ietly whispering to the birds to teach them the song of spring to come; or, if she is using the songbirds that once celebrated new life with her as sustenance to make it through the bitter winter. Pictured in: "Alphonse Mucha: The Complete Posters and Panels", by Jack Rennert and Alain Weill, G.K. Hall & Co., Publishers, Boston, pages 90-97, cat. 18.
A French Art Nouveau lithograph by Alphonse Mucha. An exquisite portrait of Sarah Bernhardt in the role of "La Princesse Lointaine" is used here for publicizing "LU" (Lefévre-Utile) biscuits, with a handwritten testimonial by the actress herself: "Je ne trouve rien de meilleur qu''un petit LU; oh si, deux petits LU." (I haven''t found anything better than a little LU--oh yes, two little LU.) "La Princesse Lointaine" was one of Sarah''s great successes, a play written for her by Edmond Rostand based an old medieval tale, shown for the first time in 1895. She played Melisande, daughter of one of the crusader kings from Tripoli who becomes famous far and wide for her beauty. When word of her charm reaches a French knight, Jofroi, he sets out on a long and exhausting journey at the end of which he dies in ecstasy after having accomplished his goal of seeing her and telling her of his love. The Lefèvre-Utile Company also used other artists to produce posters in this series which featured testimonials by prominent personalities; many were also issued as postcards. The heraldic birds on each corner were appropriated from the heraldic casket of Saint Louis (King Louis IX) on view at the Louvre. A detail from the casket figured in Owen Jones''s seminal work, Grammar of Ornament (1856). Pictured in "Alphonse Mucha: The Complete Posters and Panels" by Jack Rennert and Alain Weill, Page 308-309, Plate 86.
A French Art Nouveau lithograph "En l''honneur de Sarah Bernhardt - ses admirateurs et ses amis" by Alphonse Mucha. Stamped "F. Champenois, Paris".This image was originally created to announce an article about the legendary actress which was to appear in the December 15, 1896 issue of the magazine "La Plume". The article was to coincide with a celebratory banquet on November 9, 1896 given by The Divine Sarah''s friends and admirers. Due to editorial problems, the article was delayed until the January 1, 1897 issue, but the image was used by the sponsors of the banquet in a poster honoring Mlle Bernhardt.Pictured in "Alphonse Mucha: The Complete Posters and Panels", by Jack Rennert and Alain Weill," page 112, cat. 21 var. 1.Provenance: Elizabeth Taylor
A French Art Nouveau lithograph, titled "Reverie" ("Dream"), by Alphonse Mucha. This is one of Mucha's most frequently printed designs. "La Plume" sold this edition without the lettering. However, the original use of the design was as an in-house poster for the printer Champenois, used to usher in the new year of 1898. The design shows a woman leafing through what may be a sample book of printer's designs. The circular halo decorated with floral motifs behind her is one of the most elaborate ones Mucha ever used, as well as one of the largest in terms of its relation to the size of the picture.Further distinguishing this example is the presence of Mucha's original wax seal on the ribbon used to wrap the lithograph as a gift given by the artist. In our 50 years specializing in his artwork, this is the first time we have seen Mucha's wax seal.Pictured in: Alphonse Mucha, The Complete Posters and Panels, by Jack Rennert and Alain Weill, Abage Publishers, Chicago, p. 163, figure 39, variant 2.
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