Alphonse Mucha

Alphonse Mucha

Style: Art Nouveau

Lived: July 24, 1860 - July 14, 1939 (19th - 20th century)

Nationality: Czech Republic

Alphonse Maria Mucha was born on July 24, 1860 in the Ivancice, Moravia (Czech Republic).

His singing abilities allowed him to continue his education through high-school, however drawing was his first love since childhood. He worked at decorative painting jobs, mostly painting theatrical scenery. Then in 1879 he moved to Vienna to work for a leading Viennese theatrical design company, while furthering his artistic education.

When a fire destroyed his employer's business in 1881 he had to return to Moravia, doing freelance decorative and portrait painting. Count Karl Khuen hired Mucha to decorate his Castle with murals, and 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 artwork for a lithographed poster advertising Sarah Bernhardt at the Theatre de la Renaissance. His lush stylized poster art won him fame and several commissions.

Mucha produced paintings, posters, advertisements, and book illustrations, as well as designs for carpets, jewellery, wallpaper, and theatre sets in the Art Nouveau style. His works frequently featured beautiful young women in flowing robes, often surrounded by flowers. 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 banknotes, postage stamps, and other government documents for the new nation.

He spent years working on what he considered his masterpiece, The Slav Epic, a series of huge paintings depicting the history of the Slavic peoples, unveiled in Prague in 1928.

He died in Prague July 14, 1939.

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