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Alphonse Mucha's Masterpiece of Symbolism
A love letter to the close of the 19th century and a message of hope to the future.
Alphonse Mucha is the artist most identified with the late 19th century art movement called Art Nouveau- in fact, for the early years of the style it was known as "Style Mucha". From rock posters to science fiction films to graphic design, it is impossible to find any corner of contemporary art that hasn't been strongly influenced by Alphonse Mucha and Art Nouveau. While Alphonse Mucha was well-known for his graphic output even at the close of the 19th century, most of his work was commercial in nature. One series of images was created completely for the artist himself, to express his inner spiritual landscape: Mucha's investigation and artistic discussion of the mythology weaving through the language of The Lord's Prayer (Le Pater in French).
"Would you like to see the thing that I have put my soul into?"
-Alphonse Mucha (The Sun, 5 Jan 1900)
By December 20, 1899, Alphonse Mucha had experienced four years as the most recognizable proponent of Art Nouveau graphics and the most celebrated illustrator in Paris. The massive output of the artist in his first four years in the advertising and decorative world earned much for Mucha's publisher but very little for the artist himself.
As the end of the century grew near, Alphonse Mucha insisted upon the release of a deeply personal work, and printed 510 copies of what he for the remainder of his life considered his works-on-paper masterpiece, Le Pater.
Decidedly non-denominational, Mucha's exploration features an androgynous interpretation of God, a female deity protecting humankind, and sophisticated occult symbolism unfolding across a series of mystically-themed illustrations.
This beautiful publication will document the artworks and text of Le Pater in its entirety with historical photographs and detailed analysis of the content, unlocking many secrets that have NEVER been revealed in academia.
Unlike the advertising art that had dominated Mucha's output since his "discovery" by Sarah Bernhardt in late 1894, Mucha described this series of images to a New York reporter as "the thing I have put my soul into." (The Sun newspaper, 5 January, 1900)
Mucha's previous artworks were lithographed on numerous mediums ranging from paper to silk, in multiple formats; Mucha's publisher Champenois saw that Mucha was the most printed artist in Paris in the late 1890s. Mucha's concern, understandably, was likely that the imagery of his spiritual work would be capitalized upon as purely decoration, drained of the meaning that experiencing them as a complete series inspires. By 1899, he had earned the right to demand that the Le Pater images would be produced in an edition of only 510 copies, and subsequently saw the plates destroyed.
Now, in the 21st century, it is time to reveal the secrets that Mucha hoped a future generation would uncover.
The images from Le Pater are mentioned in numerous Mucha books as his masterpieces and are universally acknowledged alongside his massive Slav Epic paintings as his finest work. However, as a result of Mucha's forced limitation of the publication of this masterwork, the rarity of the lithographs means that most books are limited to mentioning the images in the text and leaving the reader to wonder what these "lost masterpieces" might look like.
The original promotional materials for the Le Pater series name these artworks as of "rare interest and considerable importance". Over 115 years later, the description continues to ring true.
This is the most important volume that we've ever created, for spiritual, academic, and artistic reasons. We hope that you are intrigued and enchanted, and will join us in our preservation and revelation of this unparalleled Art Nouveau masterwork.
We've published a number of universally acclaimed Fine Art books, and we will spare no expense or detail in making a keepsake book that would be a significant gift to yourself or a loved one. With crowdfunding, we are able to produce a sturdy, archival, and delicately detailed book that would normally be over twice the price that we are able to create by working as a community. Our books are bibliophile editions, and we are certain that our edition honoring Alphonse Mucha's LE PATER will occupy a place of honor in your library for generations to come.
A lower page count and smaller size softcover edition was Kickstarted last month as a limited run printed for an exhibition at our gallery in Los Angeles. Now we are producing a greatly expanded and enlarged edition of superior quality as an extraordinary gift book and keepsake.
Century Guild is a Los Angeles gallery and publisher founded by Thomas Negovan in 1999. Century Guild has presented Art Nouveau and Symbolism in numerous International Art and Antiques Fairs, including a major presence at the center of San Diego Comic Con where for the past fourteen years they introduced important artists of the 19th century to a new generation of art lovers. The limited edition books published by Century Guild are desirable for their academic content, fine quality, and rarity- books issued at $75 as recently as a year ago can be found on Amazon today for upwards of $600. We are strong believers in and supporters of the crowdfunding community and the way that it encourages creations of exceptional quality by making a direct connection between the creator and collector. Thank you for your support in this important academic endeavor by joining us in making a gorgeous keepsake book!
About the author
Thomas Negovan has written numerous art books and exhibition catalogs over the last 17 years in the areas of Art Nouveau and European Silent Cinema as well as select contemporary monographs. Negovan lectures on subjects including Symbolist Art from 1890-1920 and the art of the Weimar Republic, and has given a TEDx talk on 19th century recording technology. Alphonse Mucha's Le Pater is one of his favorite artworks, and he has spent nearly twenty years documenting and decoding the Judeo-Christian and Masonic symbolism contained within.
-Thomas Negovan, Century Guild
TEDx talk by Thomas Negovan on our relationship with history and the importance of finding a personal path.
Risks and challenges
We have been publishing books for ten years with critical acclaim and we believe this book will be our masterpiece. As repeated Kickstarter campaigners, we can promise that the book will be delivered!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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