Alfons Maria Mucha
Alfons Maria Mucha (Czech: [ˈalfons ˈmuxa] (About this sound listen); 24 July 1860 – 14 July 1939), known internationally as Alphonse Mucha, was a Czech painter, illustrator, and graphic artist, living in Paris during the Art Nouveau period, best known for his distinctly stylized and decorative theatrical posters, particularly those of Sarah Bernhardt.
Mucha, who was born in the small town of Ivančice in southern Moravia,then a province of the Austrian Empire (currently a region of the Czech Republic),and was greatly influenced by Baroque art by spending his childhood in a cathedral, developed his own style by drawing decorative paintings for buildings or designs for the theatrical stage rather than orthodox paintings.
He had worked as a corresponding proofer at the publishing house, he made his debut by making a poster that was ordered in a hurry while an employee who was working on a promotional poster for a theater was on vacation for two weeks. At that time, it was the Christmas season in December, and there was only one person, Mucha, who had to work on this day because of poverty as everyone went on a Christmas vacation. However, the goddess of opportunity came to the prepared painter. Like a Christmas miracle, Sarah Bernhardt, the poster's protagonist, entrusted him with a poster for the play 'Gismonda", in which she starred.
The Gismonda poster was a vertical poster that gave a completely different impression from the horizontal poster at the time, and the women's clothes and decorations in the poster seemed to be a combination of Renaissance classical relief and Arabesque style, and the majesty of the union And the beauty was enough to make the Parisians who faced the poster feel a sense of wonder.
The success of the Bernhardt posters brought Mucha commissions for advertising posters.
The fame of his successful career led to give him great popularity in the art world.
During the middle of his stage, he was invited by Deschamps to show his work in the Salon des Cent exhibition in 1896, and then, in 1897, to have a major retrospective in the same gallery showing 448 works. The magazine La Plume made a special edition devoted to his work, and his exhibition traveled to Vienna, Prague, Munich, Brussels, London, and New York, giving him an international reputation.
Looking at his biography, where he made a good income through commissions through commercial paintings, performed artistic activities without financial difficulties, and also presented many artistically excellent works, he seems to have a very ideal life as a painter.
However, Mucha was rejected from the Academy of Fine Arts because of her lack of talent for drawing. It didn't always go well from the start. He does not give in to this and is confident in his talent. He was confident in himself, not succumbing to the opinions of others. Looking at his actions like this, it seems to be the biggest reason why he built his own art world.
Mucha created many commercial and promotional paintings, but the underlying concept was that he wanted to comfort those who were weary of the human alienation caused by industrialization. Maybe that's why, when I look at his surprisingly beautiful paintings, I feel naturally healed.
At that time, the 'Muha style' was difficult to find where it was not used. In addition to the theater posters, I produced promotional posters for various companies, and the types were diverse enough to make 'Mucha's Day'. Railroads, bicycles, beer, cigarettes, perfume, as well as Nestlé and MOËT&CHANDON, which we are familiar with now, all sent love calls to Mucha.
As a result, many of his works are for advertisements that anyone can see. Tobacco, beer, theater posters, chocolates, etc. posters and wrapping papers are too small for an artist's work. In fact, there was a feeling that there was something different between an artist and ‘altruism’, but looking at his efforts to lower the entry barrier for art, I thought the title of ‘altruistic’ artist would suit him.
But despite his success as an artist, Moha feft an indescribable longing and nostalgia for his homeland. He wanted to return to his old country, he had a passion to complete the epic slav he has envisioned about his country. He made several trips to the United States between 1904 and 1909 to find sponsors to support this ambitious project. Personally, I think Mucha is a painter deeply related to Christmas. Because in 1909 he secured the patronage of Charles Richard Crane, a wealthy Chicago businessman and philanthropist on Christmas Day. He was fortunate enough to be a Slav too, so he had a deep interest in Eastern Europe and promises to support him for a whopping 20 years. Mucha returns to the Czechoslovakia with such strong support.
Instead of splendor and decorative beauty, he captured the history and tragedy of the Slavs in simple and powerful works. Mucha hoped that Czech people would regain their national identity and actively participate in society through his work. He constantly conveyed the voice of the nation through posters promoting social movements, or through paintings depicting the people and history of his hometown.
Mucha's work contains an endless tribute to the beauty of nature and human beings.
Personally, I like Moha's works below.
Shortly before the 1900 Exposition, he wrote in his memoirs, “I had not found any real satisfaction in my old kind of work. I saw that my way was to be found elsewhere, little bit higher. I sought a way to spread the light which reached further into even the darkest corners. I didn’t have to look for very long."
He probably realized the existence of light and spirituality that illuminates the darkness and tried to explore it. In this painting, I pay tribute to his passion and the life he has worked to make that dream come true.
Myungja Anna Koh