- Title: Job
- Author: Alphonse Mucha
- Date: 1898
- Condition: See bottom of description
- Inches: 59 x 39
- Centimeters: 149.86 x 99.06
- Product ID: 308138
The Iconic Example of Art Nouveau Design
Alphonse Mucha created this famous poster, which quickly became one of his most iconic efforts, for JOB cigarette papers in 1898. The poster features a central image of a woman in a circular frame with long, wandering but strongly curved hair and delicate features, surrounded by decorative elements such as flowers, vines, and stars. it all comes together with unsurpassed grace, beauty and force. The woman is shown holding a cigarette, with the smoke swirling around her head. Her upturned toe was a symbol of sexual arousal, her flowing gown covering her voluptuous figure. The intricate details and flowing lines draw the viewer's eye to the central image, while the decorative elements create a sense of balance and harmony. While art historian’s debate the symbolism, we are struck with the elegance and sophistication, with Mucha's signature Art Nouveau style on full display
The JOB cigarette paper poster was highly successful and is considered one of Mucha's most beautiful and memorable works. From a marketing standpoint, Mucha weaves four representations of the brand into the image and suffuses it with sexuality. The word "JOB" is prominently displayed in large, bold letters at the top of the poster, repeated in a stylized motif in the background, emblazoned on the brooch holding the dress up, and again on the rolling papers in the woman’s hand.
It is interesting to note that both this and the poster Mucha did for JOB two years earlier feature a central female figure, a circular pattern, and plentiful tresses – and both were extremely effective.
Background on Alphonse Mucha:
Alphonse Mucha was a Czech artist and designer who lived from 1860 to 1939. He is best known for his iconic Art Nouveau posters and illustrations, which feature ornate, flowing lines and intricate details. Mucha was born in the town of Ivančice, in what is now the Czech Republic. He initially worked as a theatrical set designer in Vienna, but it was his work in Paris that brought him fame and success. In the 1890s, he began creating posters for the actress Sarah Bernhardt, which became wildly popular and helped to define the Art Nouveau style.
His first poster — “Gismonda” (1894), has a great origin story, though it may be in the “myths and legends” category according to the chief curator of the New York poster museum, Poster House, Angelina Lippert:
Mucha, the story goes, was working alone and checking proofs in a printing shop on Christmas Eve, “when the manager comes in and says, ‘Sarah Bernhardt needs a poster for her show ‘Gismonda,’’’ Ms. Lippert said. “No one else was around.” Mucha, who had already seen the star in the play’s title role, promptly went to work.
The resulting sketch “breaks the rules of posters,” Ms. Lippert said — with its tall, skinny shape, new pastel color palette and unusually high level of detail for the time. Bernhardt loved the regal depiction, Ms. Lippert added, because “previously she was presented as a girlie ingénue, and that’s not how she saw herself.” Mucha created her theater posters for nearly five years and also produced costume designs and theatrical sets for her.
Mucha's work often featured beautiful women with long, flowing hair and delicate features, surrounded by decorative elements such as flowers, vines, and geometric shapes. He also created illustrations for books, advertisements, and other commercial projects. Despite his success as a commercial artist, Mucha was also interested in fine art and created a series of large-scale paintings known as the "Slav Epic," which depicted the history and mythology of the Slavic people.
Today, Mucha's Art Nouveau posters and illustrations are celebrated for their beauty and innovation, and his work continues to inspire artists and designers around the world. His original posters are highly sought after by collectors.
New York Times, Graphic, Grabby and Democratic: Posters Get Their Own Museum, June 20, 2019. Rennert and Wiell, Mucha, 1984
Laid to archival linen, mildly age toned and sun faded to an elegant patina, earlier mounting tabs on linen not touching paper. An iconic image in first class condition.
Market: One on market, 1st Dibs, $35,000, Chairish $37,500 [same image]