Alphonse Mucha

An original Alphonse Mucha Lithograph print.


Original lithograph printed in colors on wove paper.

Signed on the stone within the image lower left Mucha.

A richly printed impression of Rennert/Weill’s Variant 2 of 5 printed after the addition of the text upper right, the calendarium lower left and the bamboo stalk motif behind the central image. Published and printed by F. Champenois, Paris.

Catalog: Rennert/Weill 40.1,var. 2.

22 1/8 x 15 7/8 inches

Sheet Size: 23 1/2 x 17 5/16 inches

According to the registration in the Department of Listed Prints in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the pair of decorative panels Byzantine Heads was produced in the first months of 1897. The images became so popular that soon they were followed by many variations differing in the framing décor and the paper format. A year after the panels were made, the images were applied to decorative plates. Mucha must have liked them, as the plates were in his ateliers in New York and in Zbiroh.

The mastery evident in creating two archetypes of female form against a decorative background confirms Mucha’s artistic maturity. Both women in this set, portrayed in profile, have their heads decorated with beautiful jewelry, the richness and oriental beauty of which suggested the name Byzantine Heads.

An intricate tiara with pendants decorating “Brunette” presages Mucha’s later jewelry designs. This kind of panel brought him to the attention of the jeweler Georges Fouquet, who was fascinated by Mucha’s unbounded imagination and the splendor of his ideas.