Alphonse Mucha Artist Biography
Alphonse Mucha art prints Alphonse Mucha is best known for his luxurious poster and product designs, which encapsulate the Art Nouveau prints Art Nouveau style. Interest in his work was revived in 1980 when it was shown at an exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris. Alphonse Mucha was born in South Moravia (the present Czech Republic). In 1879, he relocated to Vienna to work for a major Viennese theatrical design company. After a fire destroyed the business in 1881 he returned to Moravia and earnt his living as a freelance illustrator and portrait painter. The following year, Count Khuen commissioned Mucha to decorate his castle at Emma hof and his brother Count Egon Belasi became his patron. In 1887 Mucha moved to Paris where he was educated at the Munich Academy of Arts and at the Acadmie Julian. In addition to his studies, Mucha worked as an advert is in illustration an on a theatre magazine, 'Le Costume au Theatre.'Around 1894, Mucha had the good fortune of being commissioned to design a poster for a play featuring the most famous actress in Paris at the time, Sarah Bernardt. The lithographed poster attracted much attention and was central in launching Mucha's future success as an influential designer of French Art Nouveau. By 1895, Mucha had signed a six year contract with Sarah Bernardt to produce stage and costume designs as well as posters. At the same time Mucha joined the Salon des Cent, a Symbolist group that included Pierre Bonnard, Mallarm and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. He designed a poster for their 20th exhibition in 1896 and the next year he exhibited many of his works at this exhibition as well as at his own solo show at the Topic Gallery in Prague. By 1900 Mucha has reached the peak of his fame with many people talking about the "Mucha style", which referred to his characteristic elements such as arabesque hair and the aureole surrounding the female profile.Between 1903 and 1922 Alphonse Mucha made four visits to the United States where his work proved particularly successful. Charles Richard Crane, a Chicago industrialist and Slavophile, agreed to finance Mucha's series of 20 huge paintings entitled 'Slav Epic' (1909-1928). Alongside this project Mucha taught drawing and composition at the Chicago Art Institute. Mucha returned to his home country shortly before World War I. He continued to work on a number of projects, including designing new postage stamps for Czechoslovakia in 1918 and producing a number of posters and designs for public buildings such as 'Allegory of Prague' (1911) for the Prague Town Hall. Mucha finally completed the full cycle of the 'Slav Epic' in 1928 and it was exhibited at the Trade Fair Palace. Just three years later he was commissioned to produce a stained-glass window for the St. Vitus Cathedral, then in 1938 he embarked on yet another mammoth project involving a triptych, 'The Age of Wisdom', 'The Age of Love' and 'The Age of Reason'. Sadly they were never completed as he died in 1939, shortly before the invasion of Czechoslovakia by German troops on July 14th."For the Slavs, the plastic arts are a common striving towards a symbolic manifestation... a taste for symbols is part of the inheritance of all Slavs... That is why the language of symbols is the surest way to communicate our feelings to our brother Slavs." (Alphonse Mucha).