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Mucha: The Versatile Master From Art Nouveau


If you are an Art Nouveau lover, you might have had a yearning to own the objects in the decorative art you see and hope they could exist in the real world.


Well, you are not alone. While we fantasize about having a magical brush to turn art into beautiful things, the Czech artist Alphonse Mucha succeeded in making his art transcend all boundaries and became the most celebrated Art Nouveau artist.


Renowned Jewellery Designer, Bringing Art to Life


In 1980s Paris, Mucha’s name was on everyone’s lips. Due to the Art Nouveau movement's demands for comprehensive designs, Mucha shook the whole city by creating some of the most unprecedented art pieces since the Renaissance. He plastered the city with compelling theatrical posters, including one of the famous actress Sarah Bernhardt in the Greek tragedy Medée.


Enchanted by Mucha’s work, the young Parisian jeweller Georges Fouquet asked Mucha to work as his jewellery designer. The creative pair hit it off and collaborated on a series of high-end jewellery between 1899 and 1901. During this time, Mucha designed many impressive pieces, including a snake bracelet adorned with opals, rubies and diamonds; and Mélissande’s floral crown worn by Sarah Bernhardt in the play La Princesse Lointaine. From the tip of Mucha’s brushes, these exquisite jewellery pieces came alive and were made famous at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris.


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Snake Bracelet 

designed by A. Mucha 

1899

Sakai, Japan


An Avant-Garde Versatile Master


Like many other geniuses, Mucha led a tumultuous life. 


In 1887, Mucha left his job for Paris to study painting under the patronage of a wealthy landowner. However, after two years, Mucha’s patron suddenly withdrew this financial support, leaving him starving. In the following five years, Mucha had trouble making ends meet. His artist dream was nearly shattered.


In order to earn a living, Mucha borrowed money, took on lots of low-paid illustration work, and scrimped to get by. But it was also during this period that he broke away from the popular painting style and began to formulate his own.


Before long, Mucha’s work was discovered by the legendary Sarah Bernhardt, the most famous actress of the time. Mucha was soon contracted to design advertisements for various businesses such as champagne, chocolate, even rolling papers for cigarettes, each of which was printed with a regal alluring “Mucha woman”. 


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Zodiaque

 Alphonse Maria Mucha

MFA, Boston

M15576.1

Mucha was an excellent multitasker. Due to his love for artistic versatility, Mucha was not only a painter and graphic designer, but he also took an interest in sculpture, jewellery, home decoration and utilitarian art.


Although Mucha’s name was closely linked to Art Nouveau, he was never wild about his associations with the movement, which he dismissed for being too contemporary when art as he saw it should be timeless. 


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Été

 Alphonse Maria Mucha

1896

MFA, Boston

M15575.7

Having been exposed to all kinds of people, Mucha had a sharp eye for capturing unique charms in women of all social classes and was always able to accurately portray them. Through his delicate lines, Mucha’s graceful and attractive women represented a new female image of power and independence in the budding 20th century.


Mucha’s works are like mirrors. They reflect the pioneering artistic vision of the era and the diversity of life, allowing women’s elegance to bloom in full confidence. Being a versatile master, Mucha always aspired to only one goal—to find beauty itself.




The article is inspired by ARTiSTORY 2022 Theme "Gathering the Greats-Mucha Muses"


https://www.artistorybrands.net/culture/Artefact-Stories/35.html
Keywords
Mucha, Art Nouveau, MFA Boston, Female, Jewellery, ARTiSTORY
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