Alphonse Mucha, Salon des Cent : exposition de l’oeuvre de Mucha, 1897, color lithography, 66.2 x 46 cm, Fondation Mucha, Prague © Mucha Trust 2018
BACK TO SCHOOL WITH ALFONS MUCHA
By Alice Butterlin
Hosting the first exhibition to celebrate the talent of Alfons Mucha in Paris since his retrospective at the Grand Palais in 1980, the Musée du Luxembourg offers an unprecedented look into the artist’s well-known and more obscure body of work. The exhibition takes place from September 12 through January 27.
As one of the founding members of the Art Nouveau movement, which took its roots primarily in Belgium at the end of the XIXth century with the likes of Victor Horta and Paul Hankar, Alfons Mucha is mostly recognized for his intricate posters. Women with angelic features in neo-classical dresses pose surrounded by flowers and swirls in very detailed pastel-colored paintings. He gets his first big break with legendary stage actress Sarah Bernhardt who commissions him his first poster for the play Gismonda. From that moment on, will spring an incredible collaboration between the Czech artist ans his newfound muse which will last over six years. In addition to those magnificent posters, Mucha is also very prolific on other mediums and produces paintings, advertisements, book illustrations, jewellery designs, wallpaper and theatre sets. Mucha’s work then takes on a more political aspect when the XXth century rolls around. It is at that moment that he undertakes his most ambitious project: putting his art at the service of his country, in which he returns after his years in Paris. The Epopée Slave takes the form of a call for unity and tolerance for the Slavs who are facing great changes. He digs deep into his people’s history and mythology to deliver paintings of great beauty with a strong message.
Bohemian artist, philosopher, humanist and a lover of the Slav culture, Alfons Mucha is much more than what people may think. This exhibition shows a bit of all his facets and allows for the viewer to delve further into his intricate psyche.
Alphonse Mucha, papier à cigarette «Job», 1896, color lithography, 66.7 x 46.4 cm, Fondation Mucha, Prague © Mucha Trust 2018
Alphonse Mucha, Les Saisons : l’été, 1896, series of 4 decorative panels, color lithography, 103 x 54 cm, Prague, Fondation Mucha © Mucha Trust 2018