Alphonse Mucha was a prolific painter and decorative artist of Moravian descent. He is a notable key personality in the movement referred to as Art Nouveau. He had a very distinct style of painting different from other artists which led to him been an inspiration to a whole generation of graphic artists, painters, designers and draughts men since his work epitomized the Art Nouveau.
Mucha produced many illustrations, paintings, postcards, advertisements and designs. Mucha’s posters are a reflection of life in modern Paris; a life of rich texture. Cigarette paper was one of the many subjects that he captured in his art.
Sometime in the late 1980’s, Mucha was contracted by a company that was in the business of manufacturing cigarette papers. The Joseph Bardou Company, its trademark “JOB”, hired Mucha and many more artists to come up with posters advertising its brand. Mucha went on to draw a voluptuous long-haired woman who in hand held a cigarette. This image drew its inspiration from “Sibyls” which was drawn by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. The Job poster became so popular that it was sold as a lithograph.
In the poster, Mucha had the prominent female character placed against Job monograms as her background. The woman’s head is leaning back in a sensual manner as she holds a lighted cigarette. The rising smoke from the cigarette forms an ornamental design; arabesque, that intertwines with the company logo and her hair.
Mucha’s paintings are characterized by the images of women. He used this as a strategic way of drawing the customer’s attention with the women’s feminine beauty coupled with a captivating message about the product that she symbolized.
The poster can be termed as one of Mucha’s best advertising posters from his collection. Numerous editions have been published for international markets taking on a variety of formats. The “Job” poster established an iconic image; the “Mucha woman”, with her abundant exaggerated hair swirling all over.