Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Czech Master Of Art Nouveau

Alphonse Mucha developed his artistic abilities to such an incredible degree, his name is synonymous with the Art Nouveau Movement. Born 1860, in a small village in Moravia, in what is now the Czech Republic, his talent was evident even as a child. He studied formally for years, in both Czechloslovakia and Munich, and upon his travels to Paris in the late 19th century, his stylized botanicals with beautiful women set the advertising and artistic world afire. His combination of subtle colors, whiplash designs, traditional themes, sensuous women and the glorification of the natural world have never been equalled. He illustrated landmark lithographed posters for the most popular actress of the day, Sarah Bernhardt, in addition to numerous commercial advertising posters. He designed his way across the whole field of visual arts: furniture, jewelry, wallpaper, rugs, textiles, ceramics and glass ~ he did it all, and was a highly accomplished painter and sculptor, as well.

When the Germans invaded his country in 1939, he was one of the first people interrogated by the Gestapo, as he was such a revered Czech patriot. He never fully recovered from the experience and died shortly thereafter. His creative genius lives on in his remarkable body of work.

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