Description & Technical information

The present sheet is Alphonse Mucha’s design for the title of the French illustrated magazine Cocorico, a satirical bimonthly publication founded in 1898 by the artist Paul-Émile Boutigny. The magazine featured the work of several artists associated with the Art Nouveau movement, notably Mucha and Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, as well as prose and poems by such writers as Tristan Bernard, Ferdinand Bloch, Georges Courteline, Hugies Delorme and Jules Renard. Though Mucha worked with several magazines in France, the United States and his native Czechoslovakia throughout his career, his partnership with Cocorico was by far the most fruitful.

This small drawing was used for the frontispiece of the first issue of the magazine, published in December 1898, and continued to appear on the title page of almost every one of the sixty-three issues of Cocorico before it ceased publication in May 1902. As the composition has been described, ‘This design is composed in Mucha’s usual way, combining a beautiful woman, surrounded by an arabesque of her hair and ribbons, with the title. Its gentle lightness of line, humorous approach, and captivating charm are typical of his creative output.’

A preliminary study by Mucha for the figure used in the Cocorico design, depicting a seated woman with a cockerel on her shoulder, is in a private collection. A much larger pen and ink drawing of the final design for the Cocorico logo is in the collection of the Mucha Trust in Prague.

Date:  1898
Period:  1850-1900, 19th century
Medium: Pen, Black ink, Laid down
Signature: Signed Mucha at the lower left.

Dimensions: 8.6 x 19.7 cm (3³/₈ x 7³/₄ inches)
Provenance: Neal A. Prince, New York
The Neal Prince Historiography Trust.

Literature: Cocorico, reproduced on the title page of the magazine between 1898 and 1902.

Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints