Alphonse Maria Mucha is a Czech art nouveau artist, founder of the theater poster. The artist’s career in art posters began with the creation of art posters for the theater, where played Sarah Bernhardt. The great actress liked the artist’s style so much that she invited him to work as an art prints designer and decorator. The gorgeous languid women portrayed by Mucha excited the imagination and flooded almost all of Paris. The Slavic beauty among the floral ornaments has become a world-famous symbol of Mucha’s art pieces. He may be definitely called one of the main singers and connoisseurs of female beauty in the art world.
Speaking about the amazing Alphonse Mucha art, it is worth paying attention to his life as well.
Who would have thought?
The future art nouveau artist was born in a small town in Moravia. His family was not rich, and the boy was able to study at the gymnasium only thanks to another his talent – he sang beautifully. Combining singing with his passion – drawing, young Alphonse dreamed of becoming an artist. However, studying at the gymnasium was hard for him, and soon he was kicked out for poor performance. The father sent his works to an art school in Prague in the hope that his son could continue his studies there. But, the professors were convinced that the boy simply didn’t have enough artistic skills to study there. What could they know about future art pieces and wall art that the world was to admire in some years ahead?
An essential feature of Mucha’s character was his perseverance, ability to work, and certainly his talent, on which he worked hard. Only thanks to his passion, and of course the luck, the works of Mucha became known throughout the world. What was the fateful moment for the artist?
Providence of fate
The first fateful meeting was with the Count Khuen Belasi. It was he who saw the talent and helped Alphonse get an education. Thanks to the Count, the young artist visited Italian exhibitions and was educated in Paris. This gave an impetus to the career of Mucha. He began drawing posters and placards.
And fate prepared Mucha another significant meeting, which changed his life. Sarah Bernhardt! Just imagine that Mucha became famous by chance and, of course, due to his hard work. Well, and possibly due to the lacking money at that time.
It was the Christmas holidays, soon a new show should be released, you don’t have any advertisements to invite the public. Besides, all the masters want nothing but to relax! But not Alphonse Mucha. He created such a poster, which took the actress`s breath away. This was the impetus for many years of fruitful cooperation of these talented people.
Mucha’s posters were so good that people cut them off the street boards and carried them to their homes. This prompted Sarah Bernhardt to create promotional products and postcards for sale.
In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Sarah Bernhardt played a major male role. Mucha painted a poster, with the ghost of the murdered father behind the central figure of Hamlet. The drowned Ophelia lies in flowers at the feet of Hamlet. It was the last poster created by Alphonse Mucha for Sarah Bernhardt.
Era of revolution
So, here it is, that period in the life of the artist, which brought us many unique works in the form of postcards, notebooks, fridge magnets in our homes.
Alphonse Mucha creates the first cycle of decorative panels which we know as Four Seasons. Further very popular panel cycles were created in a similar manner. The variations of the theme are repeated two or four times. This includes, for example, Four Flowers (1898) or Four Times of Day (1899). The stylized fusion of plants and beautiful women expressed a joyful view of life, which at that time was very popular among the public. Most clearly, these ideas appear in the cycle Four Arts (1898), performed in several techniques. It is here that the poetry of Mucha is especially felt.
Mucha creates advertising posters. For the first time, famous actresses and celebrities were becoming images of promotional items. It could be an advertisement for soap, shampoo, perfume, anything that was in demand among buyers. Alphonse Mucha established himself as the creator of first-class advertising posters. He developed his unique lithography technology, which he used to create a series of paintings Slavic Epic.
The Slav Epic, 1928
Lefèvre Utile cookie advertising poster, lithography 1901
One of the customers of Alphonse Mucha was the old Lefebvre-Util confectionery. The enterprise gained its fame not only thanks to delicious biscuits but also bright advertising by Mucha. On the advertising poster, a woman admiring Lefebvre products is depicted in bright colors. She is very elegant and dressed in fashion, the viewer can clearly notice the sophistication of this lovely woman. She attracts with her appearance, like the biscuits and Lefebvre cookies themselves. This advertising poster turned out to be surprisingly positive and beckoning for shopping or tasting pastries. It was the first poster in the history of advertising where a celebrity advertised a product. In this case, it was Sarah Bernhardt. The handwritten text in the lower-left corner says that only two Lefèvre Utile cookies can be better than Lefèvre Utile cookies.
Monaco Monte Carlo, lithography 1897
This poster advertises the delights of the resorts of the azure coast of the Mediterranean. It was made for a well-known transport company. It displays the theme of the awakening of nature with an allegorical figure of Spring, a young girl surrounded by wreaths of exotic flowers. Through the flowers and birds, the idea was to depict the building of the famous Monte Carlo casino on the far side of the bay. This poster was published in two variations. One was signed as an advertisement, and the second was without text and was intended for collectors.
Beer and Maas advertisement, lithography 1896
This poster was created according to all genres of advertising. The goods are clearly defined here, and by the blush on the face of the young virgin, the admiration is visible. In her hands, she holds an alluring glass with a drink covered in thick and tasty foam. The girl’s head is decorated with a crown with interwoven ears of barley, green hop cones, and scarlet poppies – all the ingredients of the drink.
One of the most popular works is Zodiac. It was created for the publishing house Champenois as a calendar for 1897. However, the editor-in-chief of La Plume magazine liked it so much that he acquired copyright. Further, he released it as a magazine calendar for the same year.
Cover composed by Mucha for the french literary and artistic Review La Plume
Prayer of the Lord (Le Pater)
Alphonse Mucha considered the Prayer of the Lord as one of his best works. It was published in Paris with a circulation of 510 numbered copies.
Mucha wrote about this work that he saw that his path led him to a different place, somewhere higher. He was looking for how to illuminate the farthest corners. Searches were short. The prayer of the Lord lit up his way.
The subtle soul of the artist
On reviewing the works of Alphonse Mucha from different periods of his life and styles, we can understand how brilliant this artist was. He created his unique style, and up to these days, a huge number of admirers marvel at his work. And surely at your place, there is also some souvenir depicting the beautiful Mucha`s women. His works are one of the best decorations of the interior.