Monthly Archives: January 2012

Alphonse Mucha a Czech painter and decorative artist

6 January 2012

Alphonse Mucha was born on 24 July, 1860 in Ivancice, Moravia (modern Czech Republic). From childhood Mucha dedicated himself to drawing. In Moravia he worked at decorative painting jobs, mostly painting theatrical scenery. Mucha moved to Austria (Vienna), in 1879, where he worked for a well-known theatrical design company. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed that company and Mucha came back to Moravia where he worked at decorative and portrait paintings. Mucha was commissioned to decorate Hrušovany Emmahof Castle with murals. Count Karl Khuen of Mikulov was so impressed with the results that he decided to pay for Mucha’s study at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts.

When Alphonse Mucha moved to Paris he began his study at the Academie Julian. During that time along with his studies, Mucha worked at creating advertising illustrations and magazines. About Christmas 1894, Mucha volunteered to produce an advertising poster for a play featuring Sarah Bernhardt, the most famous actress in Paris at that time. Within two weeks the job was completed and Bernhardt was so pleased with the results that she began a six-year contract with talented Czech artist Mucha.

Mucha often painted beautiful young women frequently surrounded by flowers which sometimes formed halos behind their heads. After seven years of hard work in Paris, Mucha became a successful artist. He used pale pastel colors to produce his lovely masterpieces.

In 1900 Mucha designed the Bosnia-Herzegovina Pavilion where there was a World’s Fair in Paris. In Prague, where he settled later, Mucha decorated the Theater of Fine Arts, and other places around the city. After World War I, when Czechoslovakia won its independence, Mucha was honored to design the new postage stamps, banknotes, and other government documents for the new state.

During his life Mucha created many works: paintings, illustrations, advertisements, postcards, and designs. Mucha made several trips to America. He was also commissioned from U.S. patrons to paint many portraits. At that time Mucha was already married to Maruška (Marie/Maria) Chytilová. With her Mucha had two children (daughter and son).

In 1909 Mucha went to Prague. There he was working on a series of murals for the Lord Mayor’s Hall. Mucha also began to plan out his life’s fine art masterpiece. It took 18 years of his life to complete this project – The Slav Epic (Slovanská epopej), a series of twenty huge paintings depicting the history of the Czech and the Slavic nation. In 1919 the first eleven canvases were completed and exhibited in Prague, and America.

When the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia, Mucha was among the first arrested. He returned home after a Gestapo questioning session and died on July 14, 1939, in Prague.

Paul Cézanne the father of modern art

3 January 2012

Paul Cézanne was a French painter born on January 19, 1839, in Aix-en-Provence. In 1852 Paul Cézanne entered the Collège Bourbon, where he met Émile Zola. Their friendship had an immense influence on both of them. Later, this friendship was broken as Zola wrote a novel about unsuccessful artist. Cézanne was the prototype of this artist.

In 1862, Cézanne went to Paris to study art. Cézanne’s early artworks were painted in dark tones. The artist painted his artworks representing contemporary life, life as it was without any idealization or stylistic affectation. Cézanne had developed a painting style that involved working outdoors. He may stand before nature during a long time and paint it.

Cézanne’s works received critical commentary when he exhibited his works with other impressionists in 1874 and 1877. To the exhibition which was held in 1877 Cézanne submitted 16 paintings. After this exhibition, Cézanne did not exhibit publicly for almost 20 years.

Cézanne’s left most of his works unfinished and destroyed many others. Among his the most famous paintings are the following: In the Man in a Blue Cap, Washing of a Corpse, House of the Hanged Man, the Portrait of Victor Choque, Portrait of Victor Choquet, Bay of Marseilles from L’Estaque, Mont Sainte-Victoire, the Cardplayers, the White Sugar Bowl, and the Great Bathers.

Cézanne had attained the status of a legendary figure. His paintings reveal a profound depth of feeling. Cézanne had synthesized the basic expressive and representational elements of painting in a highly original manner.

In 1886 he married Hortense Fiquet, a model with whom he had been living for 17 years, and his father died the same year.

While painting outdoors in the fall of 1906 Cézanne was overtaken by a storm and became ill. Cézanne died in Aix on October 22, 1906.