Alphonse Mucha, a Czech painter renowned for his Art Nouveau paintings in the latter half of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries, dabbled in a variety of artwork forms such as paintings, postcards, advertisements, and illustrations.
Mucha's most famous works are Le Pater and The Slav Epic, and he himself considered them his masterpieces. However, among his other renowned works are the advertisements he produced for various companies. Mucha moved to Paris in the year 1887 and applied for a job to design an advertising poster in 1894. This is when he began his advertising career. He began to work with jewellery, carpets, theatre, and of course, tea companies to produce advertising artwork.
Chocolat Ideal is an iconic advertisement created for the Compagnie Française des Chocolats et des Thés. It shows a woman standing under an arch with the words 'Chocolat Ideal' and holding three steaming cups, while two children pull at her skirt, eager to have the cocoa. The packaging of the product is featured in a small inset to the bottom down.
Cocoa had been used therapeutically in Europe since the eighteenth century and was introduced to France by Anne of Austria. At this time, Pelletier pharmacists, well known as the inventor of quinine, also marketed chocolate. The next generation, Eugène and Auguste Pelletier, started the Compagnie Française des Chocolats et des Thés in 1853. They inherited the procedures invented by them and were able to sell powdered chocolate under the brand name of Chocolat Ideal. The artwork for the advertisement was commissioned in 1897, and is a popular collectors' item even today.