Salon of the Hundred Alphonse Mucha Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Salon of the Hundred was one of a number of posters produced by Alphonse Mucha that were designed to advertise an upcoming event in Rue Bonaparte in Paris, France. Prior to modern media, the printed form was essential to all manner of promotional activities and this left Mucha's skills in high demand.

This poster design features a young woman posing with a sheet of paper that contains an artwork itself. She has a paintbrush in her hand, just as she does in other variants of this Salon des Cent series. She wears a fairly simple white dress which lacks the ornate detail of other Mucha's paintings, but her headwear is highly decorative, with beautiful flower heads dotted around a small patterned cloth which covers her hair. She looks directly at us, with a piercing gaze which leaves a strong impact, just as any advert would be interested to do. The background features some swirling touches along with a gradient of colour which transitions between orange and yellow, but in a subtle manner. The text at the bottom of the design confirms the event being advertised as well as its location and date, which is across June, 1897. The artist then signs it in the bottom right hand corner of the artwork, just as he did with most of his illustrative work.

Mucha chooses here to create letter forms through outlines, with black lines creating the information on this poster. The solid part of the words are entirely clear, allowing the gradients of colour from the background to show through. This gives a fluidity to the painting but does not allow the words to be as clear from afar as they might otherwise have been. Compare this to the likes of Bieres de la Meuse, Chocolat Ideal and Cycles Perfecta to see other methods of delivering text within Mucha's career. He produced a large number of posters within his career and found this to be a highly profitable part of his work, consistently attracting new patrons who also wanted to be connected to this artist's work. His simple signature in each one quickly helped him to spread his reputation into a variety of industries, most of whom were connected to the middle classes of Paris.

Mucha was not the only poster artist to achieve fame within Paris, with another being the much respected Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, who himself produced the likes of Moulin Rouge: La Goulue, Divan Japonais and Jane Avril. The cultural scene of this city was lively at this time, but there was none of the modern media that we see today, and so talented illustrators such as these would receive plenty of work in order to advertise various theatre shows and also lifestyle products. It may have been that they would have enjoyed other artistic challenges within their careers, but this steady stream of work helped them to build a solid reputation and also achieve relative financial freedom for the latter part of their careers. That said, Mucha was able to take on other commissions later on which were quite different to the illustrative methods of this work and so did widen his oeuvre eventually.