1896 Alphonse Mucha Poster
This is a poster that my grandmother bought when she was doing her Grand Tour in Europe after she graduated from college. And we think she bought it in Paris.
Do you know when she traveled to Europe?
I think it was in the '20s or '30s. We're not totally sure. I've heard of Mucha. I know that he's a painter. That's about all I know.
That's a great start. I'm going to take it from there. In fact, Mucha, who was born in Moravia, which is now the Czech Republic, moved to France at the end of the 19th century. And he is not best known as being a painter; he is best known for being a graphic designer. And in fact, he's most famous for his posters. And as a poster artist, his style that he created, this Art Nouveau style, really defined that era. This is a poster for an exhibition at the Salon des Cent. And the Salon des Cent is "The Salon of One Hundred." It was an artistic salon run by a man named Léon Deschamps, who was also famous for publishing a magazine called La Plume. Mucha desperately wanted to become a member of The One Hundred, and he designed this poster sort of as a way to ingratiate himself to the publisher and to the salon. And one year later, in 1897, the Salon des Cent and La Plume magazine dedicated an entire issue of the magazine and an entire one-man show to Mucha and his work. Now, Mucha's earliest poster is around 1893, 1894, so here in 1896, it really is the first sort of expression of his style that will become so famous.
Any idea what the piece is worth?
I have no clue.
I will tell you that when I saw you walk down the line today with this piece, I was almost positive that you had a dorm room reproduction because that's what we usually see. This image is so popular with its beauty and the spaghetti hair that it's reproduced quite frequently. At auction, I would estimate this poster between $8,000 and $12,000.
Wow. I'm so, like, surprised and shocked at the moment.
Good, that's great.
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