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Cover for Alphonse Mucha

Alphonse Mucha

The Spirit of Art Nouveau

Victor Arwas, Jana Brabcová-Orlíková, Anna Dvorák


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Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) was one of the most important decorative artists working in Paris at the turn of the century. His distinctive and original posters and his decorative panels in le style Mucha became almost synonymous with French Art Nouveau. The admirer and iconographer of Sarah Bernhardt, he was also well known as the creator of familiar advertisements and as a book illustrator. Yet there was much more to Mucha’s achievement than this. At the height of his career as a decorative artist, he became convinced that art should serve ideas, he became chief artistic and cultural adviser to the interwar Czech government, and he completed a major and controversial fresco cycle, the Slav Epic, as well as portraits and large symbolic paintings.

This book—the first full-scale treatment of Mucha’s entire oeuvre—includes discussions and reproductions of paintings, posters, panneaux decoratifs, pastels, drawings, and illustrations from throughout his career. In addition, the authors provide essays on Mucha’s Paris years; his association with Sarah Bernhardt; the importance of American patronage on his later work; his graphic and painterly techniques; and the problems connected with the conservation of the large canvases.

This lavishly illustrated book is the catalogue for an exhibition of Mucha’s work that will tour the United States, beginning in San Diego in 1998.

Published in association with Art Services International, Washington, D.C.

Yale University Press, 9780300074192, 344pp.

Publication Date: April 20, 1998

About the Author

Victor Arwas is director of Editions Graphiques. Jana A. Brabcova is former chief curator of prints and drawings at the National Gallery of Prague. Jean-Marie Bruson is conservator at the Musee Carnavalet. Anna Dvorak is librarian at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Jack Rennert is president of Posters Please, Inc.