429: The Seasons. 1896
Artist: ALPHONSE MUCHA (1860-1939) Size: Each: 20 1/2 x 40 in./52 x 101.6 cm Imp. F. Champenois, Paris “One of Mucha’s most endearing and enduring sets . . . Spring is a blonde sylph who seems to be fashioning a makeshift lyre out of a bent green branch and her own hair, with some birds as interested spectators. Summer, a brunette, sits dreamily on the bank of a pond, cooling her feet in the water and resting her head against a bush. Autumn is an auburn lady, making ready to partake of the ripe grape. Winter, her brown hair barely visible as she huddles in a long green cloak, snuggles by the snow-covered tree trying to warm a shivering bird with her breath” (Rennert/Weill, p. 90). It’s not only the passage of time that makes this series rare -- they were difficult to find even at the time of their publication. The editor of The Poster couldn’t help a reader locate this set back in 1899, concluding: “they are getting scarce” (January 1899, p. 42). This is the variant in which the names of each season has been printed at the bottom of its corresponding image.