Salon Des Cent

Alphonse Mucha
Salon Des Cent
Lithograph
1896

An original hand-signed Alphonse Mucha Lithograph print.

1896

Original lithograph printed in five colors (beige, dark olive, carmine red, gray olive, gold) on Japan paper.

Hand-signed in pen & ink lower right Mucha, also signed on the stone lower left.

A superb, richly printed impression of the first of two variants of the initial poster version. From the deluxe collector’s edition of 50, numbered “22” by hand also lower right. In excellent condition, with strong, fresh colors, the gold metallic ink bright and unoxidized, printed on a full sheet.

Catalog: Malhotra 628; Bridges A7; Rennert/Weill 12 Variant 1

24 3/8 x 16 9/16 inches

The Salon des Cent was the exhibition hall of the magazine La Plume. The artwork shown there, usually the artwork of contributors to the magazine, was also available for sale through La Plume’s Editions d’Art, a department which produced these works in various limited editions, often on quality materials such as vellum, Japan paper or satin, in which case the impressions were usually signed and numbered.

The editor of La Plume, Leon Deschamps, personally visited Mucha during the preparation of this work, and had this to say about the poster design that he saw:

A half-nude woman, her inclined head resting nonchalantly on one hand, her golden hair curling like a halo in rich arabesques – those famous “macaroni” which tomorrow would be celebrated and copied by all the apes of art – a divine languor lingering over the clean outlines of her face, the whole emanating an indefinable charm.

Mucha, always the perfectionist, told Deschamps that the design was far from finished and had yet to be worked on. But Deschamps wouldn’t hear of it, saying he would take it then and there: Print it as it is and you will produce a masterpiece of the illustrative decorative poster.

This poster was Mucha’s introductory gift to La Plume in appreciation of being invited to join the magazine’s stable of artists. La Plume henceforth sold all his posters and panels through their art department and honored him with a one-man show the following year. This now put Mucha in contact with other such artists of the La Plume circle as Eugene Grasset, Georges de Feure, Pierre Bonnard, Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Berthon, Steinlen, Evenpoël, James Ensor, Rassenfosse, and the American Louis Rhead.

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