In my thoughts by Alfons Mucha
“Art exists only to communicate a
spiritual message.” Alfon’s Mucha
The Arts Poetry Sketch
The Arts Poetry finished piece
In Poetry from the Arts Series you can see the concept and the graceful lines in his sketch and then the boldness in his finished piece. I think I like the sketch better for the soft gracefulness. In my opinion, Alfons Mucha is the artist that created and focused the art nouveau movement.
Czech-born Alfons Maria Mucha also known as Alphonse Mucha (1860 – 1939) is one of the most celebrated artists of the Art Nouveau Style. He has gained international acclaim his elegant designs for decorative paintings, panels, and advertising posters.
“I was happy to be involved in art for the people and not for private drawing rooms. It was inexpensive, accessible to the general public, and it found a home in poor families as well as in more affluent circles.” Alfons Mucha
Alfons Mucha was born in 1860, in Ivancice, Moravia, which is near the city of Brno in the modern Czech Republic. Born in a small town his upbringing was not sophisticated. He had a traditional upbringing attending the local schools and taking part in local functions including singing in the church choir. As most of the artists of his day, Mucha ended up in Munich and Paris in 1887. He was a little older than many of his fellow artists. He had found a patron; Count Karl Khuen of Mikulov in Moravia, prior to his move. After two years in Munich most of which was painting murals for his patron, he was sent off to Paris where he studied at the Academie Julian. After two years, his patron moved on and the 27-year-old artist was broke and moved to Paris. He lived in an apartment above a creperie and lived off small artistic jobs and teaching art to students.
In 1897 Mucha created a poster for Sarah Bernhardt's play, Gismonda, The poster embodied his art philosophy and was a statement of his new art. Spurning the bright colors and the more squarish shape of the more popular poster artists, the near life-size design was a sensation.
Mucha produced a great number of paintings, posters, advertisements, book illustrations, as well as designs for jewelry, carpets, wallpaper, and theatre sets in what was termed initially The Mucha Style but became known as Art Nouveau (French for "new art"). Mucha's works frequently featured beautiful young women in flowing, vaguely Neoclassical-looking robes, often surrounded by lush flowers which sometimes formed halos behind their heads. In contrast with contemporary poster makers he used pale pastel colors.
By 1898, he had moved to a new studio, and had his first one-man show. He began publishing graphics with Champenois, a new printer anxious to promote his work with postcards and panneaux – which were sets of four large images around a central theme (four seasons, four times of day, four flowers, etc.
Mucha's style was given international exposure by the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris, when he decorated the Bosnia and Herzegovina Pavilion and collaborated with other artists decorating the Austrian Pavilion. Mucha’s Art Nouveau style was often lauded and imitated. The Art Nouveau style however, was what Mucha attempted to disassociate himself with for the rest of his life. He was constantly caught between being a successful artist and and making a meaningful contribution.
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Mucha married Maruška (Marie/Maria) Chytilová in 1906, in Prague. The couple traveled to the U.S. from 1906 to 1910, during which time their daughter, Jaroslava, was born in New York City. They also had a son, Jiří, who was born in 1915 in Prague. In the United States, Mucha expected to earn money to fund his nationalistic projects to demonstrate to Czechs that he had not "sold out". He was assisted by millionaire Charles R. Crane, who used his fortune to help promote revolutions and, after meeting Thomas Masaryk, Slavic nationalism. Alphonse and his family returned to Czechoslovakia and settled in Prague. His first project was to decorate the Theater of Fine Arts. He volunteered his time and talents by creating the murals in the Mayor's Office at the Municipal House, and other landmarks around the city. When Czechoslovakia won its independence after World War I, Mucha designed the new postage stamps, banknotes, and other government documents for the new state.
Jaroslava_Mucha_by_her father Alfons
Mucha spent many years working on what he considered his life's fine art masterpiece, The Slav Epic (Slovanská epopej), a series of twenty huge paintings depicting the history of the Czech and the Slavic people and gifted it to the city of Prague in 1928. He had wanted to complete a series such as this, a celebration of Slavic history, since he was young.
The Slav Epic (Slovanská epopej), a series of twenty huge paintings
depicting the history of the Czech and the Slavic people
Mucha’s work enjoys great popularity today, however, when he died his work was considered outdated. Through the past century Mucha’s work has enjoyed waves of revivals and it seems as though his style is one of the most often cited as an influence for your artists and designers.
His son, author Jiří Mucha, devoted much of his life to writing about him and bringing attention to his artwork. In his own country, the new authorities were not interested in Mucha. His Slav Epic was rolled and stored for twenty-five years before being shown in Moravsky Krumlov, and a Mucha museum opened in Prague, managed by his grandson John Mucha.
Poster for 6th Sokol Festival 1912
“The purpose of my work was never to destroy but always to create, to construct bridges, because we must live in the hope that humankind will draw together and that the better we understand each other the easier this will become.” Alfons Mucha