This enamel pin features a Poster House original design based on Alphonse Mucha’s portrait of the lead actress Sarah Bernhardt, from the poster for an 1898 production of the play Médée (Medea), in which she played the title role. Mucha’s depictions of Sarah Bernhardt launched his career, making her one of the most influential people in his professional life.
Alphonse Mucha (1860–1939) was born in Moravia, in the present-day Czech Republic. He went to Paris in 1887 to work as an artist and illustrator and found modest success. All that changed in 1894 when he met the world-famous actress Sarah Bernhardt. His poster designs for her established him as the defining voice of the Art Nouveau period. He went on to become famous worldwide, with his lush images—featuring beautiful, modern women—being used for every imaginable purpose. While styles in advertising and design have changed many times since the height of Mucha’s popularity, we continue to see his famous illustrations used every day.