Artist: Alphonse Mucha Czech (1860-1939)
Plate: PL. 27
Original lithograph from "Les Maitres de L'Affiche" series.
Printed by Imprimerie Chaix, Paris, 1896.
Reference: Rennert/Weill, 3; Lendl/Prague, p. 41; Mucha/Art Nouveau, 5; DFP-II, 624; Maitres, 27; Timeless Images, 32; Wine Spectator, 71; Posters of Paris, 66; Driehaus, p. 20; Graphic Design/Taschen, p. 65; Gold, 152; PAI-LXXXII, 374
Presented in 16 x 20 in. acid free, archival museum mat, with framing labels. Ready to frame. Shipped boxed flat via Fedex.
Certificate of Authenticity.
Sheet Size: 11 3/8 in x 15 3/4 in 29 cm x 40 cm
Price: $2950.00 Rare
"Maitre de L'Affiche by Mucha and Toulouse-Lautrec have appreciated more than any other in the series and are the most sought after by the serious collector" Greg
Full size sold for $ 50,400 US Poster Auctions International, N.Y. July 2021
"For Mucha, proponent of Art Nouveau, woman was a subject of reverence, even worship, and nowhere, did he express it more eloquently than in his first poster for the immortal actress Sarah Bernhardt. 'Gismonda' was a biblical period piece whose Palm Sunday procession in the third act allowed Mucha to cloth the actress in a gown of Byzantine opulence and to give her a wonderful expression." (Gold p.107)
"…at the appearance of Gismonda on the billboards, Paris was bowled over; an odscure illustrator (Mucha) became an overnight celebrity, and posters were suddenly discussed seriously as art form in circles which would have before not even deigned to grant them a passing mention… Mucha's masterly composition, his unereing eye for decorative detail, flawless draftsmanship and an exquisitely delicate sensitivity for muted colours combined with his skill in lithography to produce a masterpiece." (Wine Spectator ,71)
Gismonda, Victorien Sardou's four-act play, was premiered in the autumn of 1894 at the Théâtre de la Renaissance in Paris. Sarah Bernhardt was both director and actor. This poster by Mucha was produced to promote the new production which opened on 4 January, 1895. Mucha portrayed Bernardt as an exotic Byzantine noblewoman wearing a splendid gown and an orchid headdress with a palm branch in her hand. This costume was worn in the last act, the climax of the play, where she joined the Easter procession. Placing her life-size figure on an arched platform, Mucha rendered the beauty and dignity of her personality onstage rather than representing her realistic features or the story. Delighted with Mucha's design, Bernhardt continued to use this poster for her American tour in 1896." (Mucha Foundation)
"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 of 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 le 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" (Lendl/Prague, p. 41)."