Alphonse Maria Mucha Biography | Oil Painting Reproductions
7-24-1860 Ivanice, CZE– 7-14-1939 Prague, CZEBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Alphonse Maria Mucha is most often remembered for the prominent role he played in shaping the aesthetics of French Art Nouveau at the turn of the century.
Alphonse Maria Mucha patron for many years was the brilliant French actress, Sarah Bernhardt. She was also an astute businesswoman who recognized Mucha's unique talent. His posters were eye-catching, captivating and beautiful; all qualities that could be attributed to Bernhardt. It is interesting to note that while many Art Nouveau images of women were almost ethereal and at least stylized, there were very few real women, the femmes Nouvelles of the era, behind the fakes.
Sarah Bernhardt was one of two entertainers who came to embody the Art Nouveau woman for many people: Loie Fuller was the other. Fuller was an American dancer who came to Paris Folies Bergere in 1892. Fuller was adored by the Symbolists artists and writers and they tried to capture the effect that her visual display had on them.
"Le style Mucha", as Art Nouveau, French for "new art", was known in its earliest days, was born. The success of that first poster brought a 6 years contract between Bernhardt and Mucha and in the following years, his work for her and others included costumes and stage decorations, designs for magazines and book covers, jewelry and furniture, and posters.
Alphonse Maria Mucha returned to Czechoslovakia in 1910, where he dedicated the rest of his life to the production of an epic series of 20 paintings depicting the history of the Slav people, the Slav Epic. When Czechoslovakia won its independence after World War I, Mucha designed the new postage stamps, banknotes, and other government documents for the new state.
The rising tide of fascism during the late 1930s resulted in Alphonse Maria Mucha's works and his Slavic nationalism being denounced in the press as 'reactionary'. When German troops moved into Czechoslovakia during the spring of 1939, Mucha was among the first persons to be arrested by the Gestapo. During his interrogation, the aging artist became ill with pneumonia. Though released, he may have been weakened by this event, he died shortly afterward.
Art Movement History: Art Nouveau
Artists Influencing Alphonse Mucha: Aubrey Beardsley, Japanese prints
He Traveled To France, USA, Czechoslovakia, Austria