Soap Factory of Bagnolet 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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This beautiful image, the Soap Factory of Bagnolet, was created by Alphonse Mucha in 1897 as a French advertisement for a women's soap manufacturer.

Following Mucha's success with an earlier image entitled "Gismonda", which featured the Parisian actress Sarah Bernhardt, it was clear that "The Mucha Style" was developing.

This new, fresh and successful format was used to advertise various products. His easily recognizable style appeared in advertising posters for items ranging from confectionary to beauty products. Mucha's timing for success couldn't have been better.

Advanced printing techniques and the popularity of posters in the 1890s in Paris, led to him signing a contract with printer F. Champenois which provided Mucha with a reliable stream of income.

His advertising images, like the Soap Factory of Bagnolet, often featured a single, seductive woman with a halo-like circle around her head. This draws the viewer's attention to the woman's beauty and what the product might be advertising.

In this case soap but Whitman's chocolate poster also uses the same format. Mucha's distinctive and fairy-tale style typically features the woman's flowing hair and an elaborate headdress which bedazzles the viewer.

The fantastic, elaborate Byzantine-inspired headdresses appear in many Mucha adverts. Mucha's choice of colour and detailing also sets his work apart from others' at the time.

The product details being promoted appear in the halo section. In the Soap Factory of Bagnolet, the font is relatively plain and clear. Other advertisements used a more Art Nouveau style font.

Though his work is stunning, he often found it frustrating to work in the same Art Nouveau style. Mucha was felt that art was "spiritual" and "nothing else". Ironically, his art had become a highly commercialized commodity.

The Soap Factory of Bagnolet is a beautiful example of Mucha's Art Nouveau advertsments.