By Lillian I. Harris
"February 1, 1897.
"MY DEAR MUCHA, — You ask me to present you to the Parisian public. Well, my dear friend, take my advice, exhibit your works; they will speak for you. I know my dear Parisian public. The delicacy of your design, the originality of your composition, the admirability of your posters and your paintings, all that will charm it, and after your exhibition I predict for you fame. "My two hands in yours, dear friend
Mucha. "SARAH BERN HARDT."
This it is, and not the noble uplift which he has given decorative art, not the fact that he is now in this country with the intention of becoming a naturalized citizen; not even his recent visit of over a month to Chicago and the Middle West with its inevitable influence on contemporary art; not so much the man himself, but his work that makes him of interest to the laity. Hence the accompanying typical examples must excite the interest of the most hypercritical by their beauty of conception, their delicacy of handling, and their almost sensuous feeling of decorative quality.
Preeminently a decorator of surfaces, with a field restricted to a certain extent by the limitations of decoration, Alfons-Marie Mucha, is yet a painter as well. Our secondary interest in the man himself is increased by the life he has led, the obstacles overcome to win success, mad the example he sets to those canting Ones who decry commercial art. For the major share of the work he has done distinguishes him as the greatest of those who have applied their art to practical purposes, yet his recent achievements put him in the rank of the foremost painters.