Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Mucha exhibition – Fabre Museum Montpellier (France)

While in Montpellier, I visited the Mucha exhibition.

The Czech painter Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) was a very popular Art Nouveau artist. Mucha applied to join the Prague Academy of Fine Arts but was turned down. He studied in Munich and then in Paris (Académie Julian and then Académie Colarossi), and at one point he shared his studio with Gauguin.

The exhibition shows numerous illustrations by Mucha, the famous posters he did for the French actress Sarah Bernhardt as well as posters and illustrations for a number of brands of alcohol, cigarettes and other goods. Are also on show some jewellery, pieces of furniture and pastels. The exhibition also features the complete full scale reconstruction of the interior decoration of the Bosnia-Herzegovina pavilion commissioned to the artists for the 1900 Paris Universal Exhibition.

At the end of the exhibition are displayed two large panels from the Slav Epic, a gigantic scale work painted using the tempera technique.

The commentary in the exhibition quotes the artist as saying, at the end of his life: “I was happy to be engaged in an art for the people and not for the closed Salons. It was cheap, accessible to all and belonging as much to the wealthy families as to poor families.” (Mucha, Life and Art – 1966)

Mucha’s works are a mix of geometric and organic patterns, characteristic of the Art Nouveau movement. Women are a central subject in his work and mythology is never far away.

If he was living now, Mucha would create some elaborate comics. In fact, his book illustrations around the Slav mythology are really close to comics and contemporary comic artists such as the genius Enki Bilal have certainly been influenced by Mucha.

Exhibition details

Exhibition Alfons Mucha (1860-1939)

20 June 2009 - 20 September 2009. The exhibition will be open everyday from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. except for Wednesdays, which opening hours are from 1:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

More about Mucha

Add to Technorati Favorites

No comments: