Mucha maidens are saleroom gems

Rare 1902 set of four poster panels designed by Alphonse Mucha - $160,000 (£123,075) at Poster Auctions International.

A highlight of the first sale of this year held by Poster Auctions International (20% buyer’s premium) in New York on February 23 was a rare 1902 set of four poster panels designed by Alphonse Mucha.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Anne Crane

Known as his Precious Stones series, each 17in x 3ft 5in (44cm x 1.03m) poster features a characteristic Mucha Art Nouveau maiden in flowing robes with a flowering plant to the foreground.

The colour of each panel reflects the different hues of the respective gem in the design’s details and the name of each gem – EmeraldRubyTopaz and Amethyst – is printed on the lower margin.

The quartet dates from the period when Mucha was working with the famous Parisian jeweller and goldsmith Georges Fouquet.

Printed by F Champenois, this is a desirable large-format version of one of Mucha’s most decorative sets.

The auction house had estimated it at $70,000-90,000 but numerous bids from collectors and from institutions drove the final price to double that figure: $160,000 (£123,075), with the hammer falling to a private collector.

Born in 1860 in the Moravian town of Ivancice (now in Czech Republic), Mucha had found fame in 1895 in Paris, with Gismonda, his first poster for actress Sarah Bernhardt.