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Lot #42 

Alfons Mucha (1860–1939)

Portrait of a Young Woman

oil on canvas laid down on cardboard
before 1920
38 × 20 cm
Estimate: 2,500,000 CZK - 4,500,000 CZK
Starting price: 1,500,000 CZK
Hammer price:
2,000,000 CZK

This high-quality, masterfully executed and visually appealing composition by the world-famous Czech Parisian and original art nouveau representative, Alfons Mucha, comes from his mature creative period, when his work on the Slav Epic set was already in full swing. The depicted half-figure in a flyaway dress and a veil represents one of the artist’s favourite types of portrait of young women, which with their shy look and gesture generally symbolise innocence. We can find this type of portrait many times in the aforementioned Slav Epic. Mucha often gave these portraits pagan or Christian attributes, however, the presented woman does not have any specific attribute of this kind, thus can be characterised as a certain universal “type”, open to a rather pantheistic interpretation. The ease at which the art nouveau lines are drawn is breathtaking. Whatever the true message and meaning of this work, it has to be considered an exceptional opportunity to expand one’s knowledge of Mucha’s mature work, as well as a highly aesthetic artwork and a unique collector’s opportunity.

The portrait comes from the important collection of Norman and Suzanne Hascoe, also known as The Hascoe Family Collection, which is considered one of the most important private collections of Czech modern art, and subsequently from an important German collection where it has been until now. The presence of the painting in the The Hascoe Family Collection is evidenced by the stamp on the reverse of the frame and it’s reproduction in the collection’s catalogue (J. Hlušička: The Hascoe Collection of Czech Modern Art, Prague 2004, cat. No. P50, repro. p. 49, fig. 29). The painting is presented in an elegant frame. Assessed during consultations by PhDr. Š. Leubnerová and John Mucha, the artist’s grandson. The expertise by PhDr. K. Srp is attached.