- Mucha, Alphonse
orig. Alfons Maria Muchaborn July 24, 1860, Ivančice, Moravia, Austrian Empiredied July 14, 1939, Prague, Czech.Czech painter and designer.After study in Prague, Munich, and Paris, he became the principal designer of posters advertising the stage appearances of Sarah Bernhardt; he designed sets and costumes for her as well. His many opulent posters and magazine illustrations made him one of the foremost designers in the Art Nouveau style. In 1922, after Czechoslovakia had become independent, he settled in Prague and designed the new republic's stamps and banknotes."Cycles Perfecta," poster by Alphonse Mucha to advertise an English brand of bicycle, ...Posters Please, Inc.
* * *▪ Czech artistoriginal name Alfons Maria Muchaborn July 24, 1860, Ivančice, Moravia, Austrian Empire [now in Czech Republic]died July 14, 1939, Prague, CzechoslovakiaArt Nouveau illustrator and painter noted for his posters of idealized female figures.After early education in Brno, Moravia, and work for a theatre scene-painting firm in Vienna, Mucha studied art in Prague, Munich, and Paris in the 1880s. He first became prominent as the principal advertiser of the actress Sarah Bernhardt (Bernhardt, Sarah) in Paris. He designed the posters for several theatrical productions featuring Bernhardt, beginning with Gismonda (1894), and he designed sets and costumes for her as well. Mucha designed many other posters and magazine illustrations, becoming one of the foremost designers in the Art Nouveau style. His supple, fluent draftsmanship is used to great effect in his posters featuring women. His fascination with the sensuous aspects of female beauty—luxuriantly flowing strands of hair, heavy-lidded eyes, and full-lipped mouths—as well as his presentation of the female image as ornamental, reveal the influence of the English Pre-Raphaelite (Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) aesthetic on Mucha, particularly the work of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Rossetti, Dante Gabriel). The sensuous bravura of the draftsmanship, particularly the use of twining, whiplash lines, imparts a strange refinement to his female figures.Between 1903 and 1922 Mucha made four trips to the United States, where he attracted the patronage of Charles Richard Crane, a Chicago industrialist and Slavophile, who subsidized Mucha's series of 20 large historical paintings illustrating the “Epic of the Slavic People” (1912–30). After 1922 Mucha lived in Czechoslovakia, and he donated his “Slavic Epic” paintings to the city of Prague.Additional ReadingGeneral introductions to the artist and his work include Jiří Mucha, Alphonse Maria Mucha: His Life and Art (1989); and John Hoole and Tomoko Sato (eds.), Alphonse Mucha (1993). Specific media are examined in Ann Bridges (ed.), Alphonse Mucha: The Complete Graphic Works, rev. and enlarged ed. (1980); and Jack Rennert and Alain Weill, Alphonse Mucha: The Complete Posters and Panels (1984).
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