What Is Art Nouveau?
The idea of personifying the four seasons was nothing new, but Champenois had such success with Mucha’s 1896 suite of decorative panels that he asked the artist to execute the theme again in 1897 and 1900. This panel is from that latter set. A brief descriptive poem for each season is included in this particular version of the panels, and the text here reads, “Autumn, symbolizing the year’s coming of age and bearing the vineyard harvest bounty, presents fruit that the summer sun has turned to gold.” On auction June 26: contact Rennert's Gallery 212-787-4000, go to rennertsgallery.com or email email@example.com.
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