Young couple from Rusadla by Alphonse Mucha – $800,000 (£601,505) at Toomey’s.

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Mucha, who was born in what is now the Czech Republic, is known to many for his posters and other commercial art produced in Paris in the Art Nouveau era but in later life he returned to Czechoslovakia.

Working in Prague, he focused on producing paintings relating to Slavic heritage and tradition, embarking on a massive Slavic epic cycle of works that occupied him for 25 years.

The painting offered at auction house Toomey & Co (25/20/15% buyer’s premium), which measured 2ft 6¼in x 2ft 1in (77 x 63.5cm) and was signed and dated lower right Mucha 20, was a fully realised study from a much larger and slightly earlier composition titled Rusadla which features the procession of a Slavic midsummer feast, known as Rusal week or Rusalje.

Rusadla shows an encounter between the Slavic people and mythical female water creatures known as Rusalki. The couple appear in Rusadla in the upper right-hand corner of the larger composition.

In 2007 Christie’s New York sold another study for Rusadla from c.1910 featuring a similar subject of a young white robed couple and titled Spring Night. It realised $320,000/£156,832 (source: Artprice by Artmarket).

The vendor of Toomey’s painting reckoned they had acquired the work at least 40 years ago from an estate sale in Chicago and it had been hanging on the wall in their home ever since.

It was offered for sale accompanied by a certificate from the Mucha Foundation dated November 3, 2021, and with an estimate of $100,000-200,000.

The new owner of the painting is Leon Tsoukernik, a Czech entrepreneur, casino owner and art collector, and will form part of his King’s Art Collection.

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