Today I want to talk about Art Nouveau artist, Alphonse Mucha, whose artwork decorates my blog header.
A favorite artist back when I was a teen in the 70's, I had several posters with his work on my walls, including the piece below. I loved it so much, I hung onto it even after it was starting to crumble and fall apart.
Mucha, 1860-1939, was a Czech artist whose work really set the style for Art Nouveau posters. His subject is most often the female figure; soft, sinuous lines, draped fabrics, flowers, lovely, feminine faces. I know the 'prettiness' of his work makes it more obvious than other kinds of art, and while I love the grittiness of modern black and white photography, even when the subject matter is unattractive or even frighteneing, there is something soothing about the pure beauty of Mucha's art.
Mucha went to Paris in 1887, and at one time shared an apartment with the Impressionist, Gauguin. One of thousands of starving artists in Paris at that time, Mucha finally found success and established his lush style when he created a poster for Sarah Bernhardt, for her play Gismonda,
in 1894. He went on to design posters for Moet and Chandon, as well as stage sets, and even costumes for Bernhardt. He was eventually invited to design one of the Pavillion's at the World's Fair in Paris in 1900, and published the Documents Decoratifs
, in order to pass his theories and techniques on to future generations of artists, who wasted no time in imitating his popular style.
Last year while cruising the Internet looking at art (a favorite past time) I came upon a series of old postcards featuring Mucha's work. I went crazy over these, searching out and saving every one I could find. I love the old handwriting and the postage stamps, the history of them, every bit as much as I love the artwork. One of these images eventually became the header for my blog- thank you, Jax!
Mucha was an incredibly prolific artist, and there's an abundance of his work to be found on the Internet, each piece more beautiful than the last. I've hardly done him justice here, so go look for yourselves, and enjoy!