Piece from the cycle of illustrations of the bibliophile Song of Songs (Le cantique des cantiques ), Coloured woodcut on paper, two colours (1905-1909), 23,5×22,5 cm, printed signature in the left lower corner, unframed.
Origin: Antiquariat in London
The highest price achieved in auction for Kupka´s oil on canvas – 56 million CZK in the year 2012, Adolf Loos Apartment and Gallery, Prague.
The highest price achieved in auction for Kupka´s graphics – 8 thousand USD, Sotheby’s New York.
The highest known price for Kupka´s graphics achieved in gallery sale – 500 thousand CZK in the year 2016, Prague.
Number of preparation sketches, drawings and graphics belongs to the first Kupka´s bibliophile Song of Songs (collection of Jewish wedding songs from various times) Song of Songs was the Author´s winning order. The text and illustrations conform to the time conventions, but in spite of this, Kupka´s work is considered to have become the reform of the French book. Then naturalistic form of books Kupka rejected and turned to 18th century, he also used Art Nouveau ornament. The Author had been preparing for the illustrations thoroughly, studied the Old Testament facts through, and learnt Hebrew. Before he approached the final layout of the book, he tried many others eventualities.
The motif of the naked beauty, who introduces herself to her Lord, Sovereign and Husband, is repeated on many preparative graphics for the illustrations of the large volume Song of Songs. We know that the model for all of these seductive women was the partner of Kupka and later wife Eugenie, nicknamed Nini, who he had met one year before. They experienced a beautiful romantic summer in the year 1905 in St. Prix, close to Paris, documented by many very erotic aquarelles. Nini is said to have stood as the model to Renoir also. This image – like all the others from Song of Songs is framed by an ornament about which Kupka said that its task is not to fill in the empty space, but to complement the story itself.
The individual graphics appear in Czech auction houses time to time, nevertheless only very sporadically.