What Is Art Nouveau?
Original lithograph printed in colors on Marais wove paper
A richly printed impression of the definitive state, from the French edition of 390. The fifth of eight ornamental plates illustrating the book Le Pater. Published by Henri Piazza et Cie., Paris, December, 1899; printed by F. Champenois, Paris.
Catalog: Bridges L23 (V)
Sheet Size: 15 ¾ x 11 ¾ inches
1899 Alphonse Mucha reached his greatest achievement as an illustrator and philosopher with his creation of "Le Pater." In the folio were eight original lithographs, with each illustrating a section of the Lord’s Prayer in French and Latin. In its symbolic concept, "Le Pater" is Mucha’s most revealing creation, a complete statement of his artistic, philosophical, and religious thoughts at the turn of the century. His personal belief was that art had one purpose, to spread light among people.
Literature regarding this artwork: Victor, Arwas, Jana Brabcová, Anna Dvorák, Alphonse Mucha: The Spirit of Art Nouveau, Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia, 1998, pp. 89-92;
Sarah Mucha, Alphonse Mucha, Mucha Limited, Czech Republic, 2000, pp. 60-61; Anna Dvorák, Mucha Le Pater: Illustrations pour Le Notre-Père, Somogy editions d’art, Paris, 2001, p. 47 (ill.).
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