Thursday, November 23, 2006

Art Blogging: Alfons Maria Mucha

Alfons Maria Mucha (1860-1939) was a Czech Art Nouveau painter and printmaker. He was born in the village of Ivancice and educated in Munich and Paris. Mucha starved for years and only rose out of the abyss of unemployment by creating posters advertising plays. These caught public attention in 1895, and he became an immediate success. After a few years in America, he returned to Czechoslovakia and devoted himself to the independence movement of that nation. Once it became a sovereign state in 1918, Mucha created works of patriotic art. When Czechoslovakia fell to Nazi Germany in 1939, he was among the first arrested. The ordeal weakened him, and he died shortly thereafter.

Lefevre-Utile (1903). This is an advertisement for Lefevre-Utile Biscuits, featuring popular French stage actress Sarah Bernhardt in costume for the play La Princesse Lointaine.

The Apotheosis of the Slavs (1926). Mucha was an advocate of Slavic ethnic pride, particularly Czech. After Czech independence, he designed the nation's stamps and currency.

Dance (1898), a lithograph. The repeated circularity of forms in this print remind me of Boucher's way of creating a private sphere of beauty.

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