Mucha Alfons (July 24, 1860 – July 14, 1939), a famous Czech painter, graphic artist and illustrator, is the author of the painting hanging in the niche above the entrance door of the restaurant in the luxurious Hotel Thermia Palace in Piešťany. In the painting, a recovering girl- presumably Mucha’s daughter − is seated in a rocking chair. Another girl, wearing a wreath of flowers, has her head and arms on the sitting girl’s knees. The woman standing is bringing a basket with fruit in one hand and a rose in the other – symbolic gifts for the sitting young woman. Both the girl and the woman are wearing the folk costume of Piešťany. Considering the churches in the background, the location is obviously the village of Moravany nad Váhom. The painting generally portrays a symbolic impression and has been perceived as Mucha’s tribute and appreciation of the healing springs of Piešťany, as well as the people taking care of patients at the spa. In fact, this concept is expressed in the name of the painting: “Salutis Fons Benedicta ave”, which means “Hail to You, Blessed Source of Health”. Mucha visited Piešťany several times in the period between 1929 and1931. He and his wife found the spa suitable for their daughter. There they underwent medical treatment as well. At that time, Mucha also acquired the basis of the planned painting, expressing his gratitude towards the spa; the size and shape of the painting was designed for a specific place in Thermia Palace. It was painted during his stay in Nice in 1932. During the same year it was ceremoniously unveiled on May 15. It may be the only Mucha painting depicting a Slovak theme.
A twist of fate regarding the painting occurred on October 19, 2000, when it was stolen. After an investigation, which included spa patients and local collectors, the police and Interpol managed to secure the painting before it was handed over to a deployed buyer who offered EUR 15,000 for the painting. After necessary restoration, the painting was returned to its original place on December 20, 2006.
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