Saturday, January 31, 2009
Alphonse Mucha - The Father of Art Nouveau
Alphonse Mucha was born in Czechoslovakia in 1860. Mucha's style is marked by a wealth of luxurious detail, muted colours, gold leaf, complicated and delicate patterns, and intricately intertwined lines - the whole overlaid with a feeling of mystic ritual.
As a young man he studied at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts, and later at the Munich Academy. He came to Paris in 1887 and worked under Lefebvre, Boulanger and Laurens. Mucha combined the principles of theatrical design he had learned in Prague with the classical technique taught to him in Paris, and developed from them the elaborate Art Nouveau style for which he is known.
In 1889, at the Paris World Exhibition, Mucha first saw Japanese prints, which, with their flat surfaces and graceful, curving outlines, influenced him deeply. He gradually incorporated those elements into his own art. In 1892 he executed his first lithographs.
The posters of Mucha's mature style were the ultimate expression of Art Nouveau with their sinuous lines, subtle colouring and glorification of the feminine ideal.