Alphonse Mucha (Czech, 18601939)
Oil on canvas; 82 1/4 x 30 in. (208.9 x 76.2 cm)
Signed, dated, and inscribed: (lower left) Mucha / 1909; (bottom) MAUDE ADAMS as JOAN of ARC
Gift of A. J. Kobler, 1920 (20.33)
Painted in Chicago in 1909, this picture depicts the American actress Maude Adams in the role of Joan of Arc in Schiller's Die Jungfrau von Orleans (The Maid of Orleans), which she performed in translation on June 21, 1909, at Harvard University Stadium. The portrait was made specifically for the one-night gala performance of the play at Harvard and was displayed as a poster for the event. Mucha also designed the costumes and sets and supervised the direction. Afterwards, at the actress' request, the painting served as the lobby poster for the Empire Theater in New York, where Adams regularly performed. The ornate gilded frame was designed by Mucha for that purpose.