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|Artist: Alphonse Mucha
|Title: Biscuits Lefèvre-Utile|
Original colour stone lithograph,
Printed by Imp. Champenois,
Signed in the stone lower left
Reference: Rennert/Weill, 22; Lendl/Prague, p. 71; Weill, p. 42; Gold, 59 (var)
Certificate of Authenticity.
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||17 3/8 in x
||44.2 cm x 61 cm|
“One of Mucha’s most personable young ladies, her hair cascading irrepressibly in fine style, is offering a dish of wafers in this exquisite design. The calendar for 1897 is imprinted on a semi-circular base. Note the initials LU in that part of the golden ornamental border that protrudes into the picture at right. The design of the girl’s dress incorporates sickle and wheat emblems . . . appropriate to the subject” (Rennert/Weill, p. 113).
Mucha. The father of Art Nouveau
"Alphonse Maria Mucha is most often remembered for the prominent role he played in shaping the aesthetics of French Art Nouveau at the turn of the century. As a struggling and relatively unknown artist of Czech origin living in Paris, Mucha achieved immediate fame when, in December 1894, he accepted a commission to create a poster for one of the greatest actresses of this time, Sarah Bernhardt.
The Divine Sarah Bernhardt
Though the printer was apprehensive about submitting Mucha´s final design because of its new unconventional style, Bernhardt loved it and so did the public. ´Le style Mucha´, as Art Nouveau was known in its earliest days, was born. The success of that first poster Gismonda brought a 6 years contract between Bernhardt and Mucha and in the following years his work for her and others included costumes and stage decorations, designs for magazines and book covers, jewelry and furniture and numerous posters. Mucha returned to Czechoslovakia in 1910, where he dedicated the remainder of his life to the production of a an epic series of 20 paintings depicting the history of the Slav people, the Slav Epic"(Mucha Museum)
The original Lefèvre-Utile factory in Nantes
The Lefèvre-Utile Biscuit Co.
was founded in Nantes, France, in 1846 by Jean-Romain Lefèvre. Originally he sold biscuits from the English factory Huntley & Palmers and then he began his own production. The name LU comes from Lefèvre and his business partner and wife, Pauline-Isabelle Utile. Their initials were first utilized by Mucha for an 1897 calendar ad for the Lefèvre-Utile Biscuit Co.