ALPHONSE MUCHA (1860-1939) [TÊTES BYZANTINES.] Two decorative panels. 1897. Each approximately 20 1/2x14 3/8 inches, 52x87 cm. [F. Champenois, Paris.] Condition varies, generally A- / B+: mat stains in margins and light staining in image; minor tears and creases at edges. Mounted on Japan. Matted and framed. Mucha's graphic work was often marked by Byzantine influences and styles, beginning with his very first poster for Gismonda in 1894. In visually extolling the splendors of ancient Byzantium, Mucha relied on the use of gold and bronze colors, created sumptuous and intricate designs for the jewelry depicted in his images, employed mosaic or mosaic-style decorative elements in many of his works, and elevated his subjects to iconic status by using halos. Anointing these two profiles as "Têtes Byzantines" confirms his adherence to this impressive influence. These two decorative panels were among the most successful ever published by Champenois, and the printer issued them in many variations. Intended to hang facing each other, the blonde and brunette have cascading hair that interrupt the halos behind them, tantalizingly breaking through Mucha's trademark mystical circle. The precise yet delicate outlining of their faces is a tour-de-force of design, made even stronger by placing the profiles against a background of geometric, almost floral patterns. Rennert / Weill 40 (var 1), Lendl p. 196 & 197 (var), Mucha Grand Palais 37 & 38 (var), Style Mucha 9 (var), Darmstadt 65 & 66 (var), Mucha / Henderson 35 & 36 (var), Mucha / Bridges P15a, Triumph des Jugendstils 67 & 68 (var), Spirit of Art Nouveau 48.