I’ve always been a fan of the art nouveau style. Instantly recognisable, the genre was at its zenith from 1890-1910 and remains a powerful influence in art today.
But, until this week, I’ve never been able to put a name to the creator of those famous posters depicting girls in flowing, neoclassical robes which, combined with the iconic art nouveau typography, have become synonymous with the genre.
That is, until I checked out Christie’s Vintage Posters auction, which is headlined by a fantastic series of four lithographs entitled The Stars:
These wonderful works were created by the Czech artist Alphonse Mucha, who is credited with giving birth to the style that dominated European art at the turn of the century. Such was Alphonse’s importance to the genre, it was initially termed “Mucha Style”, before being changed to art nouveau when more artists jumped on the bandwagon.
Call me ignorant, but I had never heard of him.
Lalique, Gaudi, Klimt, Tiffany, Mackintosh, I’m well versed in all of their works. But not Mucha.
That’s why I’ve decided to give him some long-overdue exposure in this blog. Take a look at some of his finest works:
It all started with this advertisement for Gismonda, a play by Victorien Sardou, which hit the streets of Paris in 1894.
Mucha saw his greatest success as a commercial artist, renowned for his high output that included illustrations, designs for wallpaper and carpet, and even theatre sets.
So now you know who’s behind these world famous advertisements. Next time you see one of the countless reproductions of his work in a poster store, you can impress your friends by holding your chin thoughtfully and saying: “What a fantastic example of Alphonse Mucha’s work!”