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The master of the Art Nouveau movement, Alphonse Mucha created what we now consider to be the Art Nouveau style.
Borne out of a period where mass-produced good were becoming increasingly common but were also increasingly ugly, Mucha's approach made beautiful art images available cheaply.
This was intended to break down the invisible lines between the elite and the public and art and commerce. Much of Mucha's work, including this piece, was used commercially to advertise everything from cigarette papers to biscuits to liquor bottles.
His intricate decorations blended in with his drawings to create something stylishly unique - as seen here.
This image was created in 1899 as part of a set of two lithographic panels eventually called 'Primrose and Feather.' The title harks back to a story written by the Brothers Grimm in 1807.
In the story the eponymous two sisters suffer the loss of their father and both are left grieving. One of the two- Feather- rejects numerous suitors and then runs away to the forest to forget her troubles.
She gets lost there, then encounters a sorcerer who turns her into a white swan.
After time has passed her sister Primrose goes to save her from this plight, eventually using a net to capture the sorcerer disguised as a black swan and thus freeing her sibling from her plight.
Mucha's 'Feather' reflects this story, with the still whiteness of the female depicted creating a distant sensuality, just as the story tells of a distant and unobtainable woman.
The woman's bouquet of foliage and a feather is another clue to her story, although told in a typical Mucha style. This image was also used in posters advertising the J Royer printing company.