Alphonse Mucha Chandon Cremant Imperial, 1899. Lithograph Poster.
Text below © Paul Page.

20.01.13: texts

Biography | Gallery | Mucha Canvas Prints | Mucha Rarities | Blank Books Unlined
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    "Mucha is to Art Nouveau what Nedved is to Czech football." - Paul Page

April 13 2013: Alphonse Mucha Masterworks Huge Bok - Extensive scans added + review

March 2013: Alphonse Mucha Official Poster Postcard Book - 24 detachable postcards all scanned! You won't find that anywhere else!

Just got my copy of Alphonse Mucha: The Complete Graphic Works and it took my breath away. More details can be found at amazon.com

20.01.05: biography


Fame is a fickle business. Alphonse Mucha was during his life-time the most famous artist of the Art Nouveau period; indeed, his imagery was so inextricably entwined with Art Nouveau that the entire movement was referred to by Goncourt as the'Mucha Style'. Famous throughout Europe and the Americas, he inspired other artists and designers who copied him and plagiarised him so that for years the image of the Muchaesque beauty surrounded by her characteristic symbols was enshrined in advertising, magazine covers and illustrations, book jackets, posters, paintings and numerous artifacts.

mucha

Yet at the height of his fame, Mucha left Paris, which he associated with commercial success, to seek a different kind of recognition as a 'serious' painter in the United States and in his native Czechoslovakia, thereby contributing to the ending of the creative phase of Art Nouveau. Within a few years he was totally forgotten. At least one major Paris graphics gallery bought up a vast quantity of his decorative panels, folded them in half, cut a window opening on one side, and used them as mounts or matts in which to display better known works. After all, the panels were cheaper than plain white card.

When the revival of interest in Art Nouveau began in the post-war years, none of the writers on the subject even mentioned Mucha.

Mucha's name gradually emerged from obscurity as first Art Nouveau dealers and then wholesalers of reproduction posters brought his images forward. His son Jiri Mucha - a distinguished novelist, war correspondent, translator and theatrical producer - organised exhibitions all over the world, patiently prodding and encouraging galleries and insitutions. He wrote a biography of his father, which was published in Czech and then in English, and wrote or participated in a stream of new books and articles about Mucha pere, who is probaly even more famous now than he was in his lifetime. His works are now displayed all over the world.

mucha
ete
(1900)

Alphonse Maria Mucha was born in Ivancice in South Moravia in 1860, the son of a local court usher and his second wife, a former governess. His mother wanted him to join the priesthood; his father hoped he would find some form of remunerative employment. He spent three years as a choir boy in Brno (where he met Leos Janacek) and when his voice broke, his father found him a job as a clerk.

The young Mucha was a poor clerk, but he devoted his spare time to drawing and to designing stage sets for local amateur theatre productions in which he also participated as an actor and producer.

Encouraged by his drawing teacher in Brno, Mucha applied to the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, but was turned down. He eventually came across a newspaper advertisement for a young scene painter with the Viennese firm of Kautsky-Brioschi-Burghardt, a large supplier of stage equipment and painters of theatrical scenery, backcloths and curtains. Mucha sent them a group of drawings, was accepted, and left for Vienna in 1879.

mucha printemps
(1900)

Vienna suited him well enough. Its most famous artist, Hans Makart, deeply impressed him. Makart celebrated Vienna in his paintings, setting the real people he saw around him within reconstructed historical events. For the Emperor Franz Joseph's jubilee celebrations, he brought his paintings to life, organising an elaborate pageant with historical events set on floats and a procession of men and women representing historical and symbolic characters in appropriate colourful costumes. Mucha absorbed Makart's innovation - the central positioning of recognisable, preferably beautiful women in historical reconstructions - and he also determined to become a painter of history.

In December 1881 Vienna's great Ring Theatre burned down, and some five hundred people died in the conflagration. As the Ring Theatre had been one of his employer's main clients, the most recently hired staff, including Mucha, were dismissed. However, Mucha was certain fate had something good in store for him, so he stayed in Vienna until most of his money was used up, then arbitrarily chose a railway station and a destination on the basis of the little money he had left. Thus he found himself in Mikulov. Mikulov had a hotel, into which he moved, with a restaurant in which he could order meals. The town also had a bookseller, to whom he sold a drawing and through whom he built up a steady business drawing portraits of the pretty townswomen. He decorated the local theatre, painted its scenery, acted, played the violin and guitar, and was soon invited to every local dance. He also designed tombstone inscriptions and ornaments...next page

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Recommended Reading: Alphonse Mucha Masterworks

20.01.13: books & prints

Direct page links to Mucha books available at amazon.co.uk & amazon.com.

Mucha posters available at allposters.com.

Biography | Gallery | Mucha Canvas Prints | Mucha Rarities | Blank Books Unlined
Bookmarks | Books | Greeting Cards | Keyrings | Magneto Notes Lined | Mousepads
Notepads | Postcards | Piezzo Lighters | Poster Books | Posters | Umbrellas
Wooden Pencils | Advertise | Mucha Books: Amazon.co.uk | Mucha Books: Amazon.com
Mucha posters: Allposters.com

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