Many of Altemus' publisher's
series had various types and styles of artwork on the front covers.
(See section on Publisher's Series). In 1901-2 one of the formats of
the Petit Trianon Series was half vellum. The other half had an art
nouveau illustration of a young lady in various poses. At this time two
different illustrations have been seen that were initially posters done
by Alphonse Mucha.
Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) was a well known Czech artist who excelled
in the art nouveau arena with works designed for magazine covers,
books, posters etc. It is most likely that Altemus appropriated these
works for some of their covers without paying royalties. Mucha was not
given credit within the books where his work appeared on the covers.
Below are two examples of the original and the cover illustrations -
Poetry and Lady with Rose. As can be seen, they are close copies but
the Altemus artists have revised them slightly.
Series and Alphonse Mucha
A previous update on November
26, 2005 reviewed a Petit Trianon Series format that had illustrations
by the Czech artist Mucha on the cover.
A new Mucha painting has been discovered on a Vademecum Series cover.
Until recently it was felt that the 1901 Vademecum Series books has
only scenic illustrations from European artists in the rectangle on the
front cover. Altemus used a series of paintings randomly on the
Vademecum books between 1901 and 1907. The pictures were placed within
different front cover patterns on the books of these years. So far 34
different paintings have been discovered. Now a book has been
discovered in the 1901 Vademecum Series that did not have a painting of
scenery but rather has an Alphonse Mucha painting.
The painting is entitled Winter and was from his The Seasons Series. It
was painted in 1896.
It is possible that other non scenery paintings were used by Altemus.
These as of yet are undiscovered. The Mucha cover is shown here with an
example of a more typical cover.
As noted in this section on
April 21, 2007 a new Alphonse Mucha painting was discovered on the
applique of a 1901 Vademecum Series book. That picture was from The
Seasons Series painted in 1896 by Alphonse Mucha, the Czechoslavakian
artist. It was entitled Winter. The series consisted of 4 pictures, one
for each season.
Now the picture Spring has been discovered on another 1901 Vademecum
book. At this point in time it is reasonable to presume that the other
two pictures from The Seasons Series will be discovered.
This book has an applique which
is from an Alphonse Mucha painting called Summer. Originally it was
part of a set of paintings called The Seasons Series. With the
discovery of this painting three of the four "Seasons" have been seen
as appliques on this 1901 Vademecum Series book. The other pictures are
also shown below.
Here is the season Fall. Now
all four seasons of the Seasons Series by Mucha are shown here.