1903 – Set of four art nouveau, female portrait postcards by the California-Czech artist, Emil Kosa, produced while he was an assistant to his famed mentor, Alphonse Mucha.
Paris, France: 1903. Unbound.
All four portraits were done by Emil Kosa, Sr. in the same art nouveau style made famous by his mentor, Alphonse Mucha. The postcards measure 3.5” x 5” and are signed in print, “Kosa – Paris”. The were published by “Kopal” (Koch & Palm), a German firm noted for producing high-quality lithographs. These cards were sent from various locations within the Austro-Hungarian Empire during 1903 to Marii Dlonhii in Paskova, Slovakia by her friend Erma. All are franked with blue-green Austrian 5 heller stamps (Scott #73); two have scuffs. Colors are bright, and the cards are in nice shape with some postal soiling and light foxing.
Kosa was born in Czechoslovakia in 1876, and from an early age assisted his father in making marionettes for the family’s theater. In 1903, he moved to Paris with his long-time friend, the famous art nouveau artist, Alphonse Mucha. There he assisted Mucha in producing illustrations, advertisements, decorative panels, and, especially, theatrical posters. He also married and began a family when his son, Emil Kosa, Jr. was born. After his wife died of tuberculosis, Mucha eventually remarried and the family moved to the United States, where Kosa rejoined Mucha (who had previously relocated) in producing posters and murals. After two daughter were born, the Kosa family returned to Czechoslovakia (today the Czech Republic). Following World War I, the Kosas moved back to the United States, and settled on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. There, their home became a center of an artistic and intellectual community, and Emil, Sr. continued to exhibit in Los Angeles until the mid-1950s. Meanwhile, his son, Emil, Jr., perhaps an even better artist, became a prominent member of the California Scene Painting movement, and served as the director 20th Century Pictures special effects department for over 30 years.. Very good. Item #010050
(For more information, see Hughes’s Artists In California 1786-1940 and McClelland’s Emil Kosa Jr.)
Although scarce, Kosa’s art nouveau cards occasional turnup at public auctions or for sale on eBay. Worthpoint and LiveAuctioneers show that 18 various cards have been sold since 2006. Quite scarce, but with some toning, so priced accordingly..