Original letterpress cover for Alphonse Mucha's Le Pater, 1899


Original letterpress cover for Alphonse Mucha’s masterpiece of mysticism, Le Pater. Printed by F. Champenois, published by Henri Piazza in Paris in an edition of 510, 1899.  Mucha considered Le Pater and the murals for The Slav Epic his masterworks. In The Sun newspaper of January 5, 1900 Mucha called this the work that he "had put (his) soul into."

Paper measures 11 15/16 x 16 inches. This piece arrives in an archival rag mat and arrives accompanied by a dossier containing extensive academic information about the artist and this artwork.

“Humankind rests safely in the hand of an androgynous God, dreamlike and powerful; Mucha’s Byzantine tresses are replaced here with hair personifying the wind of the vast cosmos, unfolding amidst an expanding circle of stars representing the expanding universe. Seven symbols borrowing from Rosicrucian, Masonic, Gnostic and Neoplatonic sources; each will correlate with one of seven verses of The Lord’s Prayer…”

“Le Pater is the perfect convergence of three important movements at the close of the 19th century: Art Nouveau, Mysticism, and Religion. Art Nouveau, through its respect and honor of Nature, promotes the idea of a spirit of energy coursing through all things–a tenet of Mysticism–that finds foundation in the traditions of Mucha's personal relationship with the imagery of Religion. Le Pater gave Mucha a venue to communicate his beliefs specifically through his unique approach to Art and the coded language he had been learning through his devotion to Masonic teachings. He combined the aesthetics of Medieval manuscripts with Moorish arabesques, Byzantine mandalas, and Classical Renaissance melodrama to create a body of work that guided viewers across the gap between the ancient and the modern.

The published plates for Le Pater were struck by Champenois on December 20, 1899 in an edition of 510 copies with the express agreement that they never be reprinted. As much of Mucha's work had been commercialized by Champenois due to numerous printings across multiple mediums, by this point he felt he had earned the right to insist on this deeply personal work existing only in the original release he had envisioned.”

  • Quoted from Thomas Negovan’s Le Pater: Alphonse Mucha's Symbolist Masterpiece and the Lineage of Mysticism (2019)

Notable museum collections include: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (478)
Notable museum collections featuring works by Alphonse Mucha include: Musée d'Orsay, Paris; Louvre Museum Graphic Art Database, Paris; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; Museum of Modern Art, New York City; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Mucha Museum, Prague, Czech Republic; and more.

To purchase our deluxe expanded hardcover book "Le Pater: Alphonse Mucha's Symbolist Masterpiece", please visit this page (new window): http://centuryguild.net/collections/books/products/pre-order-le-pater-hardcover