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Artists Alphonse Mucha
Alphonse Mucha Photo

Alphonse Mucha

Czech Painter

Movement: Art Nouveau

Born: July 24, 1860 - IvanĨice, Moravia (Czech Republic)

Died: July 14, 1939 - Prague, Czech Republic

Alphonse Mucha Timeline

Quotes

"The purpose of my work was never to destroy but always to create, to construct bridges, because we must live in the hope that humankind will draw together and that the better we understand each other the easier this will become."
Alphonse Mucha
"I was happy to be involved in an art for the people and not for private drawing rooms. It was inexpensive, accessible to the general public, and it found a home in poor families as well as in more affluent circles."
Alphonse Mucha
"Every nation has a palladium of its own embodying past and future history. Ever since my boyhood I felt and saw in the architectural lines of St. Vitus Cathedral built so close to the castle, a powerful interpretation of our national symbol."
Alphonse Mucha
"His art is a sumptuous art, floral, astral, feminine; it reflects with tender nonchalance the fluid beauty of form and the delicately veiled secrets of the soul."
Christian Brinton
"Art exists only to communicate a spiritual message."
Alphonse Mucha

"To talk in my own way to the spirit of the nation, to its eyes which carry thoughts most quickly to the consciousness."

Synopsis

Mucha was famous for his commercial posters, which had a wide audience, but he also worked in a variety of other media, including furniture, jewelry, and theatrical sets. He mostly worked in Vienna and Paris, but was also in Chicago, where he taught at the Art Institute, from 1904 to 1910. There, he introduced his interpretation of the "new art" to a United States audience. The densely patterned posters epitomize the Art Nouveau interest in natural forms, decoration, and a rejection of the anonymity of mechanical production.

Key Ideas

Women were a common theme in Mucha's work (and in Art Nouveau art in general). The femme nouvelle or "new woman" type was a favorite subject, since it served both allegorical and decorative purposes. Indeed, Mucha and his peers celebrated femininity as the antidote to an overly-industrialized, impersonal, "masculine" world.
Mucha worked in a variety of media that were accessible to a wide audience, and so the reach of his art extended beyond the borders of "high art." Everything could be a work of art, encompassing a person's daily experience, from wallpaper to furniture to clothing to promotional posters around the city.
Although Mucha is most associated with his Art Nouveau posters, he spent the latter of half of his career focused on projects of a nationalist character. Stirred by a pride in his country and an interest in its artistic traditions, Mucha sought to celebrate the history and mores of Czech culture.

Biography

Alphonse Mucha Photo

Childhood and Education

Mucha was raised in the shadow of two powerful cultural forces: The Catholic Church and the Slav's desire for independence from the Austrian Empire. Excited by light and color, Mucha's earliest memory was of Christmas tree lights. A baroque fresco in his local church piqued his interest in art, and he moved to Vienna, where he took an apprenticeship as a stage set painter. Surrounded by the explosion of art in the Austrian capital, he learned of and greatly admired the work of Hans Makart, among others.

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Alphonse Mucha Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Alphonse Mucha
Interactive chart with Alphonse Mucha's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Hans MakartHans Makart
William MorrisWilliam Morris
Dante Gabriel RossettiDante Gabriel Rossetti

Personal Contacts

Paul GauguinPaul Gauguin
August StrindbergAugust Strindberg
Auguste RodinAuguste Rodin

Movements

The Pre-RaphaelitesThe Pre-Raphaelites
JaponismJaponism
Arts and Crafts MovementArts and Crafts Movement
SymbolismSymbolism
ImpressionismImpressionism

Influences on Artist
Alphonse Mucha
Alphonse Mucha
Years Worked: 1879-1939
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Bob MasseBob Masse
Naoko TakeuchiNaoko Takeuchi
Paul HarveyPaul Harvey

Personal Contacts

Movements

Art NouveauArt Nouveau

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Jen Farren

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Ellen Hurst

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Jen Farren
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Ellen Hurst
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