Mucha, Alphonse 1860 - 1939 Ivancice, Moravia - $0.00
Alphonse Mucha spent his early years as a choirboy and amateur musician. It wasn't until he finished high school (needing two extra years to accomplish that onerous task) that he came to realize that he loved art. That epiphany made him determined to become a painter, despite his father's efforts in securing him "respectable" employment as a clerk in the local court.
Like every aspiring artist of the day, Mucha ended up in Paris in 1887. A patron from Moravia funded his first two years of study at the Academie Julian. After two years the supporting funds were discontinued and Mucha was set adrift in Paris. At the time, he was a 27 year old with no money and no prospects - the proverbial starving artist. For five years he drew illustrations for popular magazines, gave impromptu art lessons, got deathly ill and lived on lentils and borrowed money, It was the height of Impressionism and the beginnings of the Symbolists and Decadents. All the while he was formulating his own theories and precepts of what he wanted his art to be. In 1895, he presented a new style to the citizens of Paris. Called upon over the Christmas holidays to created a poster for a Sarah Bernhardt play, Mucha put his precepts to the test. The near life-size design was a sensation. Art Nouveau was born.
Overnight, the Mucha name became a household word and, though his name is often used synonymously with the new movement in art, even though he disavowed the connection. Commissions poured in. His fame spread around the world including the United States. His trips to America resulted in magazine covers, illustrations and portraits.
Mucha was always a patriot of his Czech homeland and considered his success a triumph for the Czech people as much as for himself. In 1909 he began a series of paintings chronicling major events in the Slav nation. This series took 18 years to complete and was presented to the city of Prague in 1928. History wasn't kind to Mucha or the Czechs. Mucha's bequest to his country was received with unkindly cold shoulders. The end of Mucha's life was spent almost as an anachronism. His work was still beautiful and popular; it just was no longer "new" - a heinous crime in the eyes of the critics. When the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia, he was still influential enough to be one of the first people they arrested. He returned home after a Gestapo questioning session and died shortly thereafter on July 14, 1939. Today, there is a rebirth of Alphonse Mucha and his work. Signed postcards, lithographs and original works are high in demand and price. The works shown are representational of a variety of Alpohnse Mucha posters, books, menu covers, illustrations, and postcard works.
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