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Price Realized: $22,800 With Buyer's Premium Show Hammer Price
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Sale 2133 Lot 121
ALPHONSE MUCHA (1860-1939) WAVERLEY CYCLES. 1898.
34 3/8x43 inches. F. Champenois, Paris.
Condition B+: vertical and horizontal folds; minor discoloration, wrinkles, creases and bubbling in image. Matted and framed.
Mucha's art was a brand in and of itself, and it transcended the products that he was employed to advertise. So much so, that Mucha was commissioned to design posters for two competing companies within the same year, an arrangement that was very rare in the advertising world of that era. By 1898, Mucha's posters for Cycles Perfecta and Waverley Cycles were simultaneously on display in the streets of Paris. Only a handful of other artists (including Cheret and Cappiello) were ever similarly courted by advertisers, who sought to use their talents regardless of current affiliations and associations. Given that they were designed by the same artist within one year of each other and for the same product, Mucha's two bicycle posters are dramatically different. While Cycles Perfecta is an exuberantly extravagant exercise in Art Nouveau representation, Waverley Cycles (in an unusual horizontal format) is more allegorical and elegant. For this sturdy, American-manufactured bicycle, "Mucha did not bother to try and show it . . . but expressed it symbolically by having the rather resolute young lady leaning on an anvil. She is holding in her hand a branch of laurel leaves, probably to indicate the prizes won by the product." (Rennert/Weill p. 206). Rennert/Weill 52, DFP-II 642, Bicycle Posters p. 55, Maitres 1900 p. 207.
Estimate $20,000-30,000Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $22,800