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Alphonse Mucha "Biscuits Lefèvre-Utile” Lithograph

Lefevre - Utile, a Nantes maker of biscuits, commissioned Alphonse Mucha to design a poster advertising their vanilla wafers. In the 1890s, Lefrevre-Utile introduced an automated production line, using conveyor belts, continuous ovens, and liquid dough shot into cookie molds by "pistols" to mass produce the popular vanilla wafers, also known as gaufrettes. Mucha’s advertisement depicts a winsome woman dressed in a headdress of Demeter and a dress textile that depicts sickles and wheat, shifting in color from day to night. As legend has it, Demeter, the Greek goddess of the harvest, created the poppy to assuage her grief when looking for her daughter. Henceforth, Demeter was depicted with wreaths of poppy and wheat. With its ample aesthetic possibilities and narcotic uses, the poppy was one of the most popular motifs for Art Nouveau artists. To farmers, they were a noxious weed to be extirpated, marking the first step in the harvest process. Before the wheat was scythed, poppies were hand-pulled. Care was taken so that the seeds did not fall to the ground, thereby exacerbating their problems in the coming harvest season.

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  • Curator's Notes

Item #: ML-20857
Artist: Alphonse Mucha
Country: France
Circa: 1896
Dimensions: 34" high x 27" wide
Materials: Lithograph paper, Giltwood gesso frame
Signed: Mucha
Literature: Pictured in: Alphonse Mucha: The Complete Posters and Panels, by Jack Rennert and Alain Weill, G.K. Hall & Co., Publishers, Boston, pages 113-115, cat. 22.

Alphonse Mucha created the iconic LU logo for Lefevre Utile. Mucha's advertisements for the biscuit company were so popular that it allowed the Nantes company to outsell their British competitors.