In 1860 Alphonse Maria Mucha was born in the countryside of Moravia. But it was in Paris where he eventually became prosperous in his companionship with Sarah Bernhardt, producing posters for her plays.
Making a number of artworks for posters, panels and magazines, labels and even menus.
He moved to America in 1904. There he instructed in various art schools and also taking on other assignments. Meanwhile he was also busy working intensely on his personal works.
|Alphonse Mucha – Summer||Alphonse Mucha – Fall||Alphonse Mucha – Winter||Alphonse Mucha – Spring|
In 1910, after World War 1, Alphonse Mucha went back to Prague where he was assigned to such honorable tasks as designing stamps and even bank bills.
Not long after the German invasion of Czechoslovakia, Mucha died in Prague in 1939. An immense number of countrymen attended his funeral.
It was the winter in Paris a year in the late 1800:s. The beloved actress Sarah Bernhardt is in need of a poster to accompany her play. Alphonse Mucha born in Czech is assigned the task and creates a masterful piece of art. Art Nouveau as we know and love it.
Later in his life Mucha dedicated his creations to the country he was born in. His art came to define Czech life in general. His genuine admiration of his homeland and its fight for freedom comes through in some of his art.
|Mucha – Precious stones and flowers|
The beautiful curving lines and pastel tinted colors with its detailed and decorative motifs. To behold an Art Nouveau Poster is often like stepping into a world of its own – A world filled of mystery and beauty beyond compare.
Alphonse Mucha turned the poster into magical pieces of art. The images are almost iconic and ofttimes communicates right into the soul of the viewer. Art Nouveau prints gives joy to humankind everywhere in our world.
|Alphonse Mucha – Morning||Alphonse Mucha – Daytime||Alphonse Mucha – Evening||Alphonse Mucha – Night|
Art Nouveau created a fresh style to the world of posters and home decoration. It was even often seen in advertisements for as various things from vehicles to chocolate and beverages. The glamor of Art Noveau was now defining how the world purchased. With an Art Nouveau Poster the items were often sold out quickly.
|Mucha – Dance||Mucha – Music|
Art Nouveau aims to beautify all aspects of life. The delightful portraits of gorgeous women in flawless harmony with flowers and nature is creating as much joy in moderns days as they did centuries ago.
|Mucha – Poetry||Mucha – Painting|
More on Mucha
The development of Art Nouveau is inescapably connected with Alphonse Mucha Posters.
1860 he was born in Moravia and became well known in Paris when he happened to receive an assignment from the splendid actress Sarah Bernardt. Upon his making of his first poster called ‘Gismonda’, the style which was then known as ‘The style Mucha’ was ignited. Some of its trademarks being swirly lines and muted pastel hues and iconic female figures.
Mucha was also enthusiastic about architecture, interior design, sculpture, books and jewelery.
His idea being that art should be incorporated into all parts of our lives and beauty and harmony should ever surround us.
|Mucha – Job||Mucha – Zodiac le plume|
Alphonse Mucha Posters was a major part of the Art Nouveau movement. Its stylized decorative patterns could be used for ornamentation as well. The figure of the image was ever the most important part and it was vital that the figure would incorporate well with his ideas of the designs, often inspired by the natural elements of flowers and plants.
The first decorative panels that Alphonse Mucha created had its theme as ‘The four seasons’.
|Mucha – Les saisons|
Mucha kept on producing Art Nouveau Posters in this way of having either four or two images within a similar theme. During this period he produced posters such as ‘The times of the day’ and ‘The flowers’.
The combination of astounding women and beautiful vegetational flowers and plants turned out to be very successful. There is ever a poetic quality of the Mucha Posters.
|Mucha – La primevere||Mucha – Printemps||Mucha – Automne||Mucha – Ete|
Gismonda – Mucha’s key to fame
There is no doubt that Alphonse Mucha was an industrious and skillful student and a hard-working and talented draughtsman. Also when he eventually lost the support of his patron, when he had to live on a starvation diet of beans and lentils, he still was able to get by from making illustrations for calendars, magazines, posters and book-covers . At one point he even designed costumes for theater plays.
Still at the year of 1894 at the age thirty-four he was still fairly unknown and still one of all artists toiling away to find their own style in Paris. Very little in his work suggested that he would ever succeed in this.
The big break came with ‘Gismonda’. The assignment of making an advertising poster for a theater play starring ‘Sara Bernhardt. The Divine Sarah – as she was also called in her prime, was delighted with the result and it had a huge impact in both the art society and in Mucha’s career as an artist as he became a celebrity very quickly after this.
|Mucha – Gismonda||Mucha – Medee||Mucha – La dame aux camelias||Mucha – Lorenzaccio|
Around new years day 1895 the poster was seen on billboards around Paris. From the 1880s the art of the poster had already been settled in France thanks to the great pieces of Jules Chéret and a few others.
However, Gismonda was very unique compared to anything that had ever been seen before. It was over two meters long and as it was displayed on the billboards it showed an almost full size Sara Bernhardt in eye-level with the admiring viewer.
It was a greatly designed poster with darker colors and her head framed by a sort of halo.
The result pleased Sarah so much that Mucha received a contract for five years.
Meanwhile the public audience was also so astounded by this poster that it became in high demand and was being sold on its own, which was a new occurrence at this time.
|Mucha – Biscuits||Mucha – Fruit||Mucha – Chocolat ideal|
Alphonse Mucha would later design six more posters for Sara Bernardt and it all had started with Gismonda. The ball now started rolling and Mucha found himself in high demand for commissions for the next ten years.
Le style Mucha – was now largely appreciated and it would identify French Decorative Art. In the middle of his artwork is the Mucha Lady. She looks at the viewer with an almost hypnotic and alluring gaze caught between the world of the viewer and a the world of the painting. She is much different from the vile females who often had been seen in the works of Toulouse Lautrec, Beardsly and Gustav Klimt.
Mucha’s woman presents a radiance and delightfulness along with the hint of a concealed message, expresses a special and joyous intuition and a warmth in his images.
|Mucha – Moet et chandon||Mucha – Cognac||Mucha – La trappistine|
The best works of Mucha are exquisite wonders of composition, often adorned with plants and other elements from nature presented in highly complex and repeating patterns adding to the hypnotic sensation in the admiring viewer.
For the patterns Mucha drew inspiration from Rococo, Celtic, Japanese, Gothic and Judaic elements also incorporating intricate mosaics for some of his backgrounds. The women were often clad in beautiful and extravagant robes with amazing jewelery.
Of the Decorative movement, one important creed was that art should be available to everyone and that it should be incorporated into everyday items and goods of common consumption and utility. Thus Mucha made a series of decorative panels, mass produced art that an ordinary citizen could afford to purchase.
|Mucha – Moon||Mucha – Reverie||Mucha – Polar star|
Mucha as a designer
Towards the end of the 19th century, Mucha started to hone his skills as a designer. He designed a multitude of various objects including furniture, jewelry, sculptures and other everyday items.
He even had plans for a project he called ‘The Pavilion of Mankind’ – a enormous construction adorned with huge statues with a globe at the top. This would have required the dismantling of the Eifel tower had it ever been realized. So whether the fact that it was never done is a good thing for mankind or not is hard to say.
Alphonse was constantly much occupied by the International Exhibition. His biggest project was the decoration of the Bosnian Pavilion. Mucha did also design a statue for the Houbigant stand as well as jewelery for the stand of Georges Foouquet.
|Mucha – Dusk|
When Mucha’s reputation as a designer spread he was more frequently getting requests to make designs for jewelery, tapestry, cutlery and tableware and so on. For this reason he came up with the idea of making a ‘Handbook for craftsmen’ offering many of the patterns for making an ‘Art Nouveau Lifestyle’. The encyclopedia of his decorative works is called ‘Documents décoratifs’ and was published 1922 by the Librarie Central des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
In this book, which was distributed to libraries and schools all over Europe, the student is guided in the process of studying nature towards a finished object in glass, leather, lace or metal.
|Mucha – Dawn|
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