Fuck Yeah Alphonse Mucha
A McFandrew Joynt
Alphonse Mucha Art Nouveau Master
Alphonse Mucha was a Czechoslovakian artist who lived from 1860 until his death in 1939. He was known mostly for his painting, but had a number of other talents including lithography, fine jewelry design, sculpting and instruction.
The principle style of painting which Alphonse Marie Mucha developed and became linked with was Art Nouveau, the French term for ‘new art’ which was an artistic style and form of depicting art from around the 1880’s up to 1910. The characteristic style of Art Noveau placed emphasis on natural curved and linear designs and floral emblems.
Alphonse Mucha (1850-1939) is known as one of the most prominent artists of art nouveau and for revolutionalizing posters and commercial art. Born in Czechoslovakia, Mucha was active in the arts from a young age. His first job in the artist was as a theater’s set designer in the Vienna, but when their theater burned down he traveled as far as he could to Moravia, where he paid his way by drawing street portraits. It was there he was discovered by his first patron Count Khuen Belasi. He painted murals for the count and his brother who sponsored Mucha to study at the Academy of Art in Munich and then to study in Paris. After a few years the Count had to withdraw his support of Mucha who then began to work as a magazine illustrator. In 1894, while working for a printer he was commissioned a poster for the famous Parisian actress Sarah Bernhardt for he new production of Gismonda. The poster was different than all the others on the streets of Paris. It was a long vertical almost life size format with soft pastel colors and the signature Mucha ‘halo’. With the admiration of Bernhardt on his side, this style became the most popular in ushering the art nouveau era. Bernhardt offered him a contract the continue producing posters for her as well as costume and set designs. In 1902 he published a book detailing his art nouveau style called Documents Decoratifs. Mucha also taught at the Academie Colossi and later the Academie Carmen before he was commissioned to paint a mural inside the Bosnia-Herzegovina Pavilion by the Austrian Government. While researching for the project he came up with idea for his Slav Epic, a tribute to the trials and tribulations of the Slav people. To realize this dream Mucha went to America to raise money, but initially hit hard times. In 1906, he married Marie Chitylova and in 1909, American millionaire Charles Crane agreed to fund Mucha’s Slav Epic. He returned for the study in the Balkans in 1910 and complete his canvases from 1912-1926. From then on it was a struggle to find a suitable space in which to display the paintings, and when Mucha died in 1939 from pneumonia, they were still in storage, having never found a suitable venue.