Agreement Reached in the Dispute Over the Slav Epic

Petr Hornik

On Monday, Prague city councilors approved the conclusion of an agreement to end the legal dispute over the ownership of Alphonse Mucha’s cycle of paintings, the Slav Epic. The city has been legally battling with one of the painter’s descendants, John Mucha. The council approved the contracts, understanding that John Mucha would withdraw his lawsuit, and preparations for creating a center to house the Slav Epic would commence. Alongside the Slav Epic, the Mucha family collection will also be exhibited.

The first approved contract pertains to resolving the legal dispute, while the second concerns future collaboration. The dispute between the city and John Mucha has lasted for years.

Initially, the painter’s relative lost the case, but the Supreme Court remanded it to the beginning, and in 2020, Mucha prevailed in the court of first instance.

Following the city’s appeal, the case was set to be reconsidered by the Prague City Court next week, but with the approval of the signed contracts, the entire dispute is expected to end.

As for the location of the Slav Epic, the city council has not yet decided. Since last year, the city has been negotiating with Crestyl, a company developing a project near Wenceslas Square known as Savarin, regarding its placement.

However, the Slav Epic Association, one of its founders being the painter’s granddaughter, Jarmila Mucha Plocková, does not agree with housing the artwork in Savarin. The association has stated its readiness to take legal action if necessary.

The significant cycle of the Slav Epic consists of 20 large canvases, which Alphonse Mucha painted over 18 years from 1910. Upon completion, he donated the work to Prague with the condition that it would provide suitable exhibition spaces, although he did not specify a deadline.

Two years ago, Prague city councilors approved the loan of the canvases to Moravský Krumlov, where they will be on display until 2026.