A Look Inside the Catalogue
Left, Lot 211: Princezna Hyacinta, 1911. Estimate $15,000 to $20,000.
Right, Lot 88: Bleuze - Hadancourt Parfumeur, circa 1899. Estimate $15,000 to $20,000.
The Harry C. Meyerhoff Collection of works by Alphonse Mucha and his circle is the largest private collection dedicated to the Art Nouveau master ever to come to auction. Meyerhoff, a champion racehorse owner, assembled the collection in the 1970s and ‘80s with his wife in their home in Maryland.
Right, Lot 144: Portrait of Jiří Mucha, etching, circa 1920. Estimate $1,000 to $1,500.
Left, Lot 102: Lefèvre - Utile / Sarah Bernhardt, 1903. Estimate $5,000 to $7,500.
Right, Lot 89: [Parfumerie Gelle Freres Sylvanis Essence], 1899. Estimate $10,000 to $15,000.
Of the over 200 lots offered, more than half are works by Mucha. These include beloved posters such as Job, 1896; Salon des Cent, 1896; Zodiac / La Plume, 1896; La Trappistine, 1897; Societe Populaire des Beaux-Arts, 1897; Bières de la Meuse, in the exceedingly rare smaller format, 1897; Monaco - Monte Carlo, 1897; Medee, 1898 (pictured below); Lygie, 1901 (below); and Princezna Hyacinta, 1911 (above). Also in the sale are many of his exquisite decorative panels, including Têtes Byzantines (Byzantine Heads), circa 1897; Dawn and Dusk, 1899; and several versions of Les Fleurs (The Flowers), circa 1900.
Lot 199: Savon Mucha, counter-top display screen, 1907. Estimate $3,000 to $4,000.
Some of the images have rarely been seen at auction, including Bleuze Hadancourt Parfumeur, circa 1899 (pictured above), and Nestlé’s Food for Infants, 1898, in its scarce, smaller format. Others, including Krinogen, 1928, and Savon Mucha, 1907, have no auction record at all.
Left, Lot 220: Krinogen, 1928. Estimate $2,000 to $3,000.
Left, Lot 98: Lygie, 1901. Estimate $12,000 to $18,000.
Center, Lot 95: Medee / Sarah Bernhardt, 1898. Estimate $12,000 to $18,000.
Right, Lot 97: La Passion, 1904. Estimate $6,000 to $9,000.
Further highlights include original preparatory sketches for the famous Documents Décoratifs and Figures Décoratifs, as well as ephemera such as chocolate tins, menus, programs and magazine covers. Also available is a first edition of Ilsee, Princesse de Tripoli, 1897, written for the actress and muse Sarah Bernhardt.
The posters and graphic items trace the evolution of Mucha’s career, with works from each of the prominent artistic and geographic phases of his life: Paris, New York and Prague.
Right, Lot 100: Biscuits Champagne / Lefèvre-Utile, 1896.
Estimate $12,000 to $18,000.
Left, Lot 151: Preparatory sketch for Documents Décoratifs, pl. 5, pen and ink, circa 1902. Estimate $1,200 to $1,800.
Right, Lot 148: Preparatory sketches for Documents Décoratifs, pl. 43 and pl. 68, pen and ink, circa 1902. Estimate $2,000 to $3,000.
Rounding out the sale are works by Pierre Bonnard, Eugène Grasset, Adolfo Hohenstein, Privat-Livemont, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and others, offerings that speak to Meyerhoff’s discerning eye for the graphic glory of Art Nouveau.
Left, Lot 75: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Babylone d'Allemagne, 1894. Estimate $30,000 to $40,000.
Right, Lot 78: Pierre Bonnard, Salon des Cent, 1896. Estimate $7,000 to $10,000.
Harry C. Meyerhoff
Harry Charles Meyerhoff was born February 14, 1929, in Baltimore, Maryland, the younger of Jack and Bea Meyerhoff's two sons. He attended Lehigh University, graduating in 1950 with a degree in engineering and All-American honors in lacrosse, and went on to found a successful home-building business in Baltimore with his brother Robert. He had three children.
In the early 1960s, Meyerhoff began a successful racehorse operation, first with his brother, and then in partnership with his second wife and son, Tom. His involvement in racing continued until for the rest of his life, with the highlight being three years campaigning the Hall of Fame champion colt, Spectacular Bid. Meyerhoff moved to the Easton, Maryland area in 1975 to satisfy his lifetime enjoyment of bird hunting and sailing; he was an avid sailor and made several ocean trips to Bermuda and the Virgin Islands. In 1980 he opened The Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, Maryland, operating the inn and restaurant for ten years.
Meyerhoff had a lifelong interest in the arts. His parents enjoyed acquiring art, filling their homes with everything from Han dynasty ceramics mounted as lamps to paintings by Hans Hoffman. He started buying contemporary art in the 1960s, and shifted his focus to fin de siècle art in the 1970s: his first acquisitions were prints by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, before turning to the art of Alphonse Mucha. Meyerhoff's main advisor for the collection was William J. Tomlinson, the highly regarded Baltimore art dealer and appraiser. Eventually his collection, which hung salon-style throughout his homes, became one of the largest in the world.
Harry C. Meyerhoff died on February 11, 2016 in Easton, Maryland at the age of 86. He would be pleased to know that others will have a chance to own and appreciate the works that gave him so much pleasure both to acquire and admire.
Lot 39: Privat-Livemont, La Vague, 1897. Estimate $4,000 to $6,000.
For more information on the sale, contact a specialist in the Vintage Posters department.
Learn how to consign with Swann here.