Alfons MuchaAvatarsLinksAbout

Alfons Mucha was born in 1860 in Ivancice, Czechia. After finishing high school, he realized he wanted to paint more than anything. He studied in Munich, than he ended up in Paris in 1887 at the Academie Julian. After two years his supporting funds were discontinued and the 27 year old Alfons Mucha found himself with no money and no prospects.

For five years he lived a life of an unknown artist, meeting succes and failure equally. It was the time of Impressionism and the beginning of Symbolism but Mucha was formulating his own vision of what his art should look like.

He presented his new style to Paris on January 1, 1895. His poster for Sarah Bernhardt's play, Gismonda, was the declaration of his new art.
The beginnings of Art Nouveau ("New Art" in French) can be traced to about this time. There should be no space between art and the audience. Everything could and should be art. Mucha's way was based on a strong composition, sensuous curves derived from nature, detailed decorative elements and natural colors.
Sarah Bernhardt signed him to a six year contract to design her posters and sets and costumes for her plays. Mucha found an overnight success at the age of 34.

Mucha accepted commissions of various kinds, at first publishing graphics, postcards and panneaux - sets of four large images around a central theme (The Four Seasons, The Four Times of the Day, Four Flowers, Four Stars, Four Arts, etc.). Most of these sets were printed on silk.

Mucha publishes Documents Decoratifs and announced Figures Decoratives. Documents Decoratifs was his attempt to pass his artistic theories on to the next generation. In actuality, it provided a set of blueprints to Mucha's style and his imitators wasted no time in applying them.
As he travells to the U.S. he became world famous and the trips resulted in covers and illustrations in a variety of U.S. magazines. Portraiture is also commissioned from U.S. patrons. So, at the end of the decade he is prepared to begin what he considered his life's work.

Mucha loved Czechia, his homeland and considered his success a triumph for the Czech people as much as for himself. In 1909 he was commissioned to paint a series of murals for the Lord Mayor's Hall in Prague.
He also began to plan out "The Slav Epic" - a series of great paintings chronicling major events in the Slav nation. Financing was provided by Charles Crane, a Chicago millionaire. Mucha had hoped to complete the task in five or six years, but instead it embraced 18 years of his life. Twenty massive (about 24 x 30 feet) canvasses were created and presented to the city of Prague in 1928, covering the history of the Slavic people from prehistory to the nineteenth century. In 1919 the first eleven canvases were completed and exhibited in Prague and America.
After World War I. Mucha also designed Czechoslovakian post stamps and banknotes.
After the Germans invasion into Czechoslovakia, he was still influential enough to be one of the first people to be arrested. He returned home after a Gestapo questioning session and died shortly thereafter on July 14, 1939.