Alfons Mucha listen? (July 24, 1860 - July 14,
1939) was a Czech painter and decorative artist. His first name
is also sometimes rendered in English as Alphonse. Mucha was perhaps
the most defining artist of the Art Nouveau style.
Alfons Maria Mucha was born in the town of Ivancice,
Moravia. His singing abilities allowed him to continue his education
through high-school in the Moravian capital of Brno, although drawing
had been his first love since childhood. He worked at decorative
painting jobs in Moravia, mostly painting theatrical scenery, then
in 1879 moved to Vienna to work for a leading Viennese theatrical
design company, while informally furthering his artistic education.
When a fire destroyed his employer's business in 1881 he returned
to Moravia, doing freelance decorative and portrait painting. Count
Karl Khuen of Mikulov hired Mucha to decorate Hrušovany Emmahof
Castle with murals, and was impressed enough that he agreed to sponsor
Mucha's formal training at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts.
Mucha moved to Paris in 1887, and continued his
studies at Académie Julian and Academie Colarossi while also
producing magazine and advertising illustrations.In 1894, he produced
the artwork for a lithographed poster advertising Sarah Bernhardt
at the Theatre de la Renaissance. Mucha's lush stylized poster art
won him fame and numerous commissions.
Mucha produced a flurry of paintings, posters,
advertisements, and book illustrations, as well as designs for jewellery,
carpets, wallpaper, and theatre sets in what came to be known as
the Art Nouveau style. Mucha's works frequently featured beautiful
healthy young women in flowing vaguely Neoclassical looking robes,
often surrounded by lush flowers which sometimes formed haloes behind
the women's heads. His style was often imitated.
Mucha visited the USA from 1906 to 1910, then returned
to the Czech lands and settled in Prague, where he decorated the
Theater of Fine Arts and other landmarks of the city.When Czechoslovakia
won its independence after World War I, Mucha designed the new postage
stamps, banknotes, and other government documents for the new nation.He
spent decades working on what he considered his masterpiece, The
Slav Epic (Slovanská epopej), a series of huge paintings
depicting the history of the Slavic peoples, unveiled in Prague
in 1928. The series was never finished.
He died in Prague July 14, 1939 and was interred
there in the Vyšehrad cemetery.By the time of his death, Mucha's
style was considered outdated and old-fashioned, but interest in
his art revived first in the 1960s, and continues to experience
periodic revivals of interest and influence on contemporary illustrators.
Much of the interest in Mucha's work can be attributed to his son,
author Jirí Mucha, who wrote extensively about his father
and devoted much of his life to bringing attention to his father's