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French Art Nouveau Lithograph titled "Hamlet", by Alphonse Mucha

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).

French Art Nouveau Lithograph titled 'Hamlet', by Alphonse Mucha

French Art Nouveau Lithographs titled "The Four Seasons" by Mucha

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.

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French Art Nouveau Lithographs titled 'The Four Seasons' by Mucha

French Art Nouveau Lithograph, "La Princesse Lointaine" by Alphonse Mucha

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.

French Art Nouveau Lithograph, 'La Princesse  Lointaine' by Alphonse Mucha

Lithograph "En l''honneur de Sarah Bernhardt" by Mucha

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

Lithograph 'En l''honneur de Sarah Bernhardt' by Mucha

French Art Nouveau LIthograph, "Reverie" ("Dream"), by Alphonse Mucha.

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.

French Art Nouveau LIthograph, 'Reverie' ('Dream'), by Alphonse Mucha.