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Alphonse Mucha: Master of Art Nouveau

"Alphonse Mucha: Master of Art Nouveau" examines how Mucha exploited the advertising poster to create a new movement in art. His work helped shape the aesthetics of French art at the turn of the twentieth century and formed the cornerstone of the international Art Nouveau movement.

The exhibition examines how Mucha’s work helped shape the aesthetics of French Art Nouveau at the turn of the century. Art Nouveau, or New Art, describes a style in architecture, and visual and decorative arts that flourished from the 1890s through 1910. It emphasized the beauty of natural forms in everyday life. Art Nouveau featured a sinuous or “whiplash” line, flattened space, and botanical shapes and patterns.

“Mucha’s early work is centered on the epitome of beauty,” said Jonathan Canning, director of Curatorial Affairs and Programming at The Hyde Collection. “With use of subtle color schemes, lavish scrolling text, and exquisite women, he defined the Art Nouveau movement."

Many of the works in the exhibition feature beautiful women, dramatic curving lines, flowers, and plants. Mucha worked across many media and those are revealed in the exhibition, which includes lithographs, drawings, paintings, books, and advertisements. Highlights include four versions of a poster Mucha created for actress Sarah Bernhardt in 1894 — an assignment largely believed to have launched Mucha's prolific career — and two posters advertising Job cigarette papers from 1896 and 1898.

Mucha (July 24, 1860-July 14, 1939), the most successful decorative graphic artist of his day, considered his life’s masterpiece to be Slav Epic, twenty large-scale paintings depicting the history of the Czech lands and people. The latter part of Mucha's career is also included in the exhibition, with samples of his work after returning to his homeland in the early part of the twentieth century, including bank notes and one of the Slav Epic panels.

This exhibition is a selection from the Dhawan Collection and was organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA.


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