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Estimate: $ 12,000 - $ 18,000
ALPHONSE MUCHA (1860-1939) JOB. 1896. 26 1/4x18 1/4 inches, 66 3/4x46 1/2 cm. F. Champenois, Paris. Condition A: slight toning in margins; full margins. Paper. Job cigarette rolling papers, offered in small packets, were the brainchild of Jean Bardou, a baker in Perpignan. On the cover of these booklets, he put his initials separated by a diamond; the public interpreted this as "Job," and the name stuck. As a patron of the arts, with exceptional vision in regard to advertising, Bardou commissioned Chéret, Pal, Cappiello, Bouisset and Toulouse-Lautrec to design posters for his company. Mucha designed two posters for Job; the first is this charming, small-format piece featuring the bust of a woman with extravagant hair. She appears to be the same woman he depicted on his poster for the Salon des Cent's 1896 exhibition. The "exquisite arabesque of luxuriant hair . . . became the artist's trademark over the next few years" (Rennert / Weill p. 82). No longer based on reality, the hair on Mucha's maiden became an entirely decorative element, as did the smoke rising from her cigarette. The poster's border and title are designed to look like a mosaic, and in the background, Mucha ingeniously utilizes a stylized version of the company's logo as another decorative element. Rennert / Weill 15, Maitres pl. 202, Lendl p. 118, Wember 609, Weill 58, Brno 10, Mucha Grand Palais 28, Darmstadt / Mucha 50, Mucha / Henderson 47, Mucha / Bridges A6, Reade 12, Triumph des Jugendstils 23, Art Nouveau p. 112, Spirit of Art Nouveau 20, DFP-II 635, Abdy p. 137.