Alphonse Maria Mucha was born in 1860 in Ivancice, Morovia (now part of the Czech Republic) and undertook his artistic training in Prague and Munich.
As a key figurehead of the Art Nouveau movement, Mr. Mucha's passion was to bring art to everyone, and he had no qualms working with the advertising industry in the early days of mass consumer culture he designed posters, packaging for household products such as soap, as well as mosaic panels for swimming pools and postage stamp illustrations. Alphonse Muchas works are usually characterized by an ethereal aesthetic typified by strong young women in goddess-like robes surrounded by lush flowers forming halos behind their heads.
In 1890, the artist went in the World Exhibition in Paris get involved with the international art scene. Working as a book illustrator, he briefly shared his studio with the notorious Paul Gauguin.
Muchas rise to prominence began in Christmas 1894, when he responded to an advertisement asking for an illustrator to design posters for a play starring Sarah Bernhardt, the most famous actress at the time. The artist volunteered his services and within 2 weeks, the lithograph print he produced for 'Gismonda' was plastered all over the streets of Paris, making Alphonse Mucha as famous as the actress he was portraying, and his working relationship with her continued for the next 6 years.
Mucha spent 2 years in America from 1904, teaching in Philadelphia, New York and Chicago. Following WWI, Mucha moved back to his homeland, where he was commissioned by an American philanthropist to create 20 large paintings of Slavic history entitled 'The Slav Epic'.
Towards the end of his life Muchas reputation faded as Art Deco styles took hold. When German troops occupied Prague in 1939, the artist was arrested and interrogated by the Gestapo. Mucha died, shortly after his release, in July 1939.
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