What Is Art Nouveau?
This rare poster from 1897 was created by Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) for the French biscuit brand Lefèvre-Utile. The image shows a beautiful woman holding a plate of wafers that she seems to be offering to the viewer. The piece is designed in the recognizable Art Nouveau style of Mucha. The woman wears a wreath made of poppies and wheat shafts, while the dress is decorated with a pattern of sickle and wheat elements. Mucha included decorative details in his pieces that had a direct relation with the products advertised, in this case biscuits made of wheat flour. The poster includes a calendar of saints for each day of the year, separated by month in columns.
Lefèvre-Utile was founded in 1846 in Nantes by Jean-Romain Lefèvre and his wife Pauline-Isabelle Utile with the opening of a bakery. Mucha in this poster was the first to use the initials “LU” for the brand, which went on to become how people refer to the brand to this day. The LU initials are part of the golden border that spreads into the central image. Artist Firmin Bouisset was chosen by the brand for their next poster in 1897. He created the iconic Petit Écolier, still used in their biscuits, and included the LU initials in his poster. You can view this poster here: https://postergroup.com/posters/358/lulu-biscuit. By 1910 the LU factory in Nantes produced more than 6,000 tons of biscuits per year and employed 1,200 workers. The brand still exists today and can be found in many countries.
The artist of this poster is famous Czech artist Alphonse Mucha. He liked drawing since he was a child, and at a young age started working as a theatrical scenery painter. In 1879, Mucha moved to Vienna to pursue this line of work, and soon after was sponsored to study at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. The artist moved to Paris in 1887 to continue his studies at Académie Julian and Académie Colarossi. He soon became popular in the French capital for his paintings, illustrations and designs for jewelry and wallpapers, among others. His style became known as Art Nouveau, French for “New Art”. Mucha usually depicted beautiful women surrounded by flowers and Neoclassical inspired robes. Mucha created posters for many brands, for LU he also designed box tops, wrappers and other printed objects.
This is an Original Vintage Poster. It is not a reproduction. This poster is conservation mounted, linen backed and in excellent condition. We guarantee the authenticity of all of our posters.
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Alphonse Mucha is synonymous with Art Nouveau, a style of fine art, decorative art, and architecture that broke with the academicism of the 19th century in favor of florid lines inspired by the natural environment. A lithographed advertising poster he was commissioned to create for a play featuring the celebrated actress Sarah Bernhardt in 1894 catapulted him out of obscurity and brought him instant success as a commercial artist. Rendered in pale pastels, much of his work depicts beautiful young women draped in Neoclassical robes set amidst flowers, feathers, and other sensuous natural forms. He was celebrated not only for illustrating advertising posters, but also for painting, book illustrations, sculpting, and designing theater sets, jewelry, and wallpaper.
Czech, 1860-1939, Ivančice, Czech Republic, based in Paris, France