Art nouveau aficionados are in for a treat on January 26, when 220 rarely seen works by artists including Alphonse Mucha come to auction at Swann Galleries in New York.
Featuring sketches from the famous Documents Décoratifs and Figures Décoratives, as well as posters, postcards, advertisements and even chocolate boxes from the early 20th century, the works are from the collections of Maryland businessman Harry C Meyerhoff, and feature pieces by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Eugène Grasset, Adolfo Hohenstein and Henri Privat-Livemont.
The Mucha works on offer include an intimate, unnamed etching of a young boy ($1,000-$1,500) and the Savon Mucha countertop display screen from 1906 ($3,000-$4,000), as well as iconic large posters in soft, pastel colours, such as Bleuze-Hadancourt Parfumeur, c1899 ($15,000-$20,000) and Princezna Hyacinta, 1911 ($15,000-$20,000), both of which feature, in typical Mucha style, beautiful women in neoclassical, flowing robes. Also packed with the Czech artist’s trademark touches is a set of 12 exquisite figural studies in pen and ink ($15,000-$20,000).
Mucha made his name in commercial art, but was always passionate about creating work that celebrated his Czech heritage. Witness the elaborate mosaic elements that crop up on a playful Whitman’s Chocolates and Confections/Philadelphia samplerbox ($1,200-$1,800), and floral motifs in window displays for soaps including Parfumerie Gellé Frères Sylvanis Essence ($10,000-$15,000) from 1899.