Sims Reed Rare Books×

Le Pater..

Mucha, Alphonse

Paris. F. Champenois & H. Piazza & Cie. 1899
An exceptional copy from the édition de tête of Mucha's mystical Art Nouveau masterpiece with an original signed watercolour and in a binding by Marius Michel.

From the edition limited to 510 copies, with this one of 10 édition de tête copies printed on Japon with an original drawing by Mucha, the colour suite of all the plates on Japon and an additional suite in monochrome on Chine.

'Le Pater', which Alphonse Mucha (1860 - 1939) considered his printed magnum opus and masterpiece in book form, takes the text of the Lord's Prayer in Latin and French and illustrates it in a series of dense Art Nouveau and Symbolist compositions. As a devout Catholic, Mucha wished to present a pictorial version of the prayer and each of his large full-page colour lithographs incorporates lines of the Latin text (above) with the French (below) heightened with gold and colour while the heliogravures illustrate the themes of the prayer. The calligraphic leaves, each with elaborate frame, historiated and decorative initials and vignettes, elucidate the lines of the prayer in Mucha's own spiritual, mystical and philosophical terms.

Mucha's large original watercolour, executed on the second blank initial leaf, depicts a seated female figure garlanded with flowers face on with elaborately draped skirt and floral patterned chemise. The work is signed in pencil at lower right and dated '99', the year of publication of the book.

The printed half-title in red is present only in the suite on Japon, the illustrated title is present in both, but is without letters in the monochrome, and the original wrappers are present only in the monochrome suite.
[Book: 32 leaves including blanks; Suite on Japon: 28 leaves; Suite on Chine: 29 leaves; 89 leaves in total]. Folio. (406 x 324 mm). Leaf with signed watercolour by Mucha, leaf with half-title in red, leaf with colour vignette and copy number, leaf with colour lithograph pictorial title, leaf with dedication to Henri Piazza and 22 leaves with 8 full-page colour lithographs with heightening in gilt, 7 leaves with elaborate calligraphic text and decorative initials and vignettes and 7 monochrome heliogravure plates, leaf with justification within elaborate decorative colour frame and final leaf with colour frame and achevé d'imprimer all by Alphonse Mucha; also included is the suite in colour on Japon interleaved with the suite on Chine in black without colour, the original wrappers are also present in the suite on Chine. Full burgundy crushed morocco by Marius Michel with his signature gilt, boards with decoration in blind, banded spine in five compartments with gilt title, turn-ins with elaborate decoration in blind and inlaid sections of green and red morocco at corners to form holly and berry motif, patterned silk moiré doublures, marbled endpapers, original illustrated wrappers with gilt heightening preserved, a.e.g., matching slipcase.