The medieval heroine Joan of Arc gestures in amazement at the apparition behind her, encouraging her to lead French troops in battle. Mucha, who was based in Paris, was prompted to create this painting on a trip to the United States. It was made to promote a one-night gala performance of Friedrich Schiller’s The Maid of Orleans, starring the popular actress Maude Adams, held at Harvard University Stadium on June 22, 1909. The stylized floral patterns, swirling hair and garments, and flat, graphic quality of the composition typified Mucha’s work as a wildly successful commercial illustrator. He also designed the complementary frame.
Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.
Use your arrow keys to navigate the tabs below, and your tab key to choose an item
Inscription: Signed, dated, and inscribed: (lower left) Mucha / 1909; (bottom) MAUDE ADAMS as JOAN of ARC
A. J. Kobler, New York (until 1920)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Behind American Footlights," February 4–September 5, 1949, no catalogue.
Baltimore. Mount Royal Station Gallery. "Poster Artist Mucha," October 9–31, 1973, no. 49.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "La Belle Epoque," December 6, 1982–September 4, 1983, unnum. checklist.
San Diego Museum of Art. "Alphonse Mucha: The Spirit of Art Nouveau," February 28–April 26, 1998, no. 96 (as "Portrait of Maude Adams as Joan of Arc").
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen. "Jeanne d'Arc: Les tableaux de l'Histoire, 1820–1920," May 30–September 1, 2003, no. 82.
Washington. Corcoran Gallery of Art. "Joan of Arc: Her Image in France and America," November 18, 2006–January 21, 2007, unnumbered cat. (fig. 80).
THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT.
Josephine L. Allen and Elizabeth E. Gardner. A Concise Catalogue of the European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1954, p. 70.
Jirí Mucha. Alphonse Mucha: The Master of Art Nouveau. Prague, 1966, p. 239, pl. 258, reproduces a pencil study for this picture showing the head of Maude Adams (Mucha Trust, Prague); states that our painting, executed in Chicago, was to be reproduced in an unrealized folio called "American Actresses".
Jirí Mucha inAlphonse Mucha: Posters and Photographs. London, 1971, p. 60, fig. 51, calls it "Joan of Arc. Poster for Maude Adams" and states that it was made for a one-night performance of [Friedrich] Schiller's play "Maid of Orleans" at the Harvard University Stadium; notes that Mucha also designed the costumes and sets, and supervised the direction.
Robert E. Gotsch. Poster Artist Mucha. Exh. cat., Mount Royal Station Gallery. Baltimore, 1973, p. 18, no. 49, ill. (frontispiece, color), notes that the ghostly image of an armed warrior behind Joan represents her future destiny; explains the symbolism of the fleur-de-lis as emblems of French royalty and the Trinity, the crowns of thorns as images of Christian suffering, and the lilies as representations of Joan's purity.
Jana Brabcová inAlfons Mucha: 1860–1939. Exh. cat., Darmstadt Mathildenhöhe. Munich, 1980, pp. 52, 321, under no. 342, p. 376.
Jack Rennert and Alain Weill. Alphonse Mucha: The Complete Posters and Panels. Boston, 1984, pp. 330–32, no. 96, ill. (color), state that this picture was displayed at Harvard as the only poster for Adams's June 21, 1909 performance [the performance took place on June 22; see Ref. Coyle 2006] and that afterward, the actress requested that it be displayed in the lobby of the Empire Theater in New York, for which Mucha designed the frame; note that "after many years as a lobby poster" it passed into a private collection, from which it was donated to the MMA; illustrate a hand-painted lithograph after the painting (Mucha Trust, Prague) which may have been executed as an intermediary step toward the creation of an unrealized printed poster of the image.
Jirí Mucha. Alphonse Maria Mucha: His Life and Art. London, 1989, p. 234.
Arthur Ellridge. Mucha: Le Triomphe du modern style. Paris, 1992, p. 174.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 239, ill., as "Maude Adams (1872–1953) as Joan of Arc".
Anna Dvorák inAlphonse Mucha: The Spirit of Art Nouveau. Exh. cat., San Diego Museum of Art. Alexandria, Va., 1998, pp. 38, 266–69, no. 96, ill. (color), dates it 1908; asserts that no printed posters were made from this picture; states that although Adams wanted it displayed at the Empire Theater "in the spring of 1910... before Mucha's departure for Prague, he wrote that he left 'Maude Adams' with his friend Arthur Hercz, who would try to find a buyer for it," adding that Mucha was either referring to the pencil study (Mucha Trust) or to our picture.
Marie-Claude Coudert inJeanne d'Arc: Les tableaux de l'Histoire, 1820–1920. Exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen. Paris, 2003, pp. 151, 170, no. 82, ill. p. 148 (color), states that Adams commissioned this picture.
Laura Coyle in Nora M. Heimann and Laura Coyle. Joan of Arc: Her Image in France and America. Exh. cat., Corcoran Gallery of Art. Washington, 2006, pp. 63–64, fig. 80 (color), notes that Adams's performance as Joan of Arc took place on June 22, 1909 [see "Miss Adams Thrills Throng in Stadium," New York Times (June 23, 1909), p. 1]; states that this picture hung in the lobby of the Empire Theater for over a decade until it was donated to the MMA.
Marta Sylvestrová in Marta Sylvestrová and Petr Stembera. In Praise of Women: Alphonse Mucha—Czech Master of the Art Nouveau. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest. Budapest, 2009, p. 51.
There exists a pencil drawing used as a study for this picture and a lithograph after the final composition, printed in black and gold outline and painted with watercolor and gouache, which was probably created in preparation for an unrealized printed poster (both 1908; Mucha Trust, Prague).
The Met Collection API is where all makers, creators, researchers, and dreamers can connect to the most up-to-date data and public domain images for The Met collection. Open Access data and public domain images are available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.
We continue to research and examine historical and cultural context for objects in The Met collection. If you have comments or questions about this object record, please complete and submit this form. The Museum looks forward to receiving your comments.