Alphonse Maria Mucha

Czech, 1860 - 1939
Born in Ivancice in Moravia and trained as a stage designer in Vienna, Mucha studied painting in Munich before moving to Paris in 1887 to enrol at the Academie Julian. Mucha's fame was owed to his very personal style of drawing, which was both elegant and supple, rendering a sophisticated vision of Woman. His taste for curved and intertwined forms combined with a wild proliferation of plant life was expressed in some of the most celebrated posters of his time (see lots 87-89 & 91). Mucha's works are characterized by a sense of ornamentation, byzantine inspired mosaic backgrounds, a balancing of realist and stylized elements, and a certain horror vacui. Mucha's abilities as a graphic artist brought him a rapid rise to fame; however, he was a virtuoso in many domains, creating intricate jewelry, furniture, wallpaper and interiors, as well as the posters, drawings and paintings that turned him into the embodiment of Art Nouveau. Mucha himself rejected any direct links with the movement, asserting that 'art is eternal, it cannot be new'. To him, his style was the natural evolution of purely Czech artistic traditions, organically grown from roots in the country he loved so well. After a few years in the United States he returned to Bohemia to start work on the Slav Epic, a series of twenty paintings celebrating Slavic history, which he gave to the city of Prague in 1928. These paintings expressed Mucha's devoted attachment to his roots, Czech ideals and traditions. The period of 1895 to 1900 was Mucha's most prolific. The symbolist literary review La Plume dedicated an issue to his drawings, watercolours and lithographs in 1897 when public appreciation of his work was at its height, as well as exhibiting his works as part of the Salon des Cent. His posters were especially popular, and he published various series of decorative panels. In several of his acclaimed four-piece decorative panel series, as The Four Flowers (lots 87-891, and in his depictions of young Moravian girls (see for example lots 86 & 91), captivating and sensuous female figures are the primary focus of the composition. They symbolise Flora, the goddess of nature, and the flowers with which they are adorned become their attributes of beauty. This beauty encapsulated the nostalgia of the period and had the perfection of a dream, seducing not only his contemporaries but generations to come.Biography courtesy of Roughton Galleries,
Alphonse Mucha Art Prints 
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