Feb 02, 2024

Prague Gets Green Light for Negotiations on Mucha’s Slavic Epic Placement

Prague can resume negotiations with Crestyl regarding the placement of Alfons Mucha’s Slavic Epic in Savarin Palace on Wenceslas Square, as the municipal court accepted the appeal and overturned the preliminary measure prohibiting the contract.

The Slavic Epic, comprising 20 large canvases painted by Mucha over 18 years, has faced ownership disputes.

“I am pleased that the Municipal Court in Prague has granted our appeal and cancelled the preliminary injunction of the District Court for Prague 1, which restricted the right of Prague to freely dispose of the work of Alfons Mucha – the Slavic Epic. Thus, nothing prevents Prague from negotiating the permanent placement of this work in Prague,” Deputy Mayor for Prague, Jiří Pospíšil, explained.

The ownership dispute, spanning many years, saw one relative, John Mucha, withdraw a lawsuit after reaching an agreement with the municipality.

While Mr. Mucha withdrew a lawsuit after an agreement with the municipality, another, Jarmila Mucha Plocková, filed her own lawsuit disputing ownership terms.

Through an interim measure, she sought to prevent Prague from entering into a contract with Crestyl until the court ruled on her ownership claim.

With the Municipal Court’s decision in favor of Prague, negotiations for a temporary lease of the Savarin with Crestyl can proceed. In case of rejection, Pospíšil stated that Prague is prepared for litigation.

Mucha, upon completion, entrusted the work to Prague with the condition to build a suitable exhibition space, without specifying a deadline.

For the time being, Slav Epic is on display at the château in Moravský Krumlov in south Moravia.

Mucha, who died in 1939, gained international celebrity for his distinct posters and illustrations, which today are among the most iconic pieces of the Art Nouveau movement.

Travels through the Balkans inspired him to undertake a record of the region, which culminated in 1928 as the cycle of 20 paintings known as the Slav Epic. The enormous canvases depict the mythology and key histories of the Slav people.

He considered the Slav Epic his masterwork, telling a crowd upon the debut of the initial 11 canvases in 1919, “Let it announce to foreign friends—and even to enemies—who we were, who we are, and what we hope for.” The insurance value of the group of works has been estimated around 280 million CZK.

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