Wearable Art Research (02)

28/6/2019-30/6/2019
Day 4-Day 6
Nothing of note. Rest of entry will mainly focus on the influential artists of the Art Nouveau era, in the editor’s personal opinion, who defined the movement with their artworks or embodied the principles of Art Nouveau tremendously in their pursuit of art.

Alphonse Mucha

Alphonse Mucha (McGill 2017)

Born on a Summer’s day of 1860 in what is modern day the Czech Republic, Alphonse was originally given the name Alfons Maria Mucha at birth. (Augustyn none)
Throughout his life, Alphonse had attended several institutions of fine arts, but none more notable than the Munich Academy of Art, in which he spent 2 years. His artistic education then furthers in Paris after his move there, for another set of years. In tandem with his studies, Alphonse partook in illustrative work and graphics design, which consequently led to one of his most notable works of Nouveau Art.
It was the winter of 1894, the time of Christmas. As such, other illustrators were not available for commissions, but with Alphonse spending the season in Paris, he had taken up the last minute request. However, the commission was no ordinary request, it was an issue for a poster design, one for a film starring Sarah Bernhardt, the most famous actress in Paris at the time.
With only roughly 2 weeks of time during the holiday season, Alphonse had successfully designed a poster for Sarah Bernhardt’s “Gismonda”. The poster was held in such high regard, Sarah Bernhardt had put together a 6 year contract with Mucha. Not to mention the copies of the poster distributed across Paris being stolen by vandals to be sold by enthusiasts and collectors. (Rogallery, none) (Mucha Foundation, none)

Cismonda, by Alphonse Mucha. (Mazzino 2011)

Only a year later, in 1896, Alphonse would be under the employment of F Champenois France, a famous french editor and printer. Under whom he would create another great piece of Nouveau styled artwork more commonly known as “Seasons” when he was commissioned to create decorative panels. Not only is this commission significant for its beauty and and design, but for the fact that it would lead to a popularization of the theme. So much so, that Alphonse would go on to create another set of panels a year later in 1897 and a third time in 1900 with the some variation in form, colors, and shapes and movement. (Museums 2015) (Mucha Foundation, none)

Seasons 1896, Alphonse Mucha (Museums 2015)
Seasons 1897, by Alphonse Mucha (Museums 2015)
Seasons 1900, by Alphonse Mucha (Museums 2015)

Above all else, Alphonse Mucha was a patriot at heart, firmly believing in the independence of his birth nation- Czech. An exemplary representation of his love for his people and country would be the “Slav Epic”, a twenty-part story depicting the history of Czechslovakians and other Slavic minorities of the time, composed of only paintings. Each piece spanned over 6 meters tall and 8 meters wide, taking 2 decades in total for completion. Naturally, such a monumental project required a considerable amount of funding and support, which Alphonse was not short of. From his agreement with Crane, an american philanthropist with a keen interest in Slavic culture and history, Alphonse would accumulate enough funding to ensure the projects completion. (Boris none)

While the Slav Epic is, in modern times, considered Alphonse’s most ambitious, most grand, and most meaningful series of artworks, there was an endeavor that contended for the same title- The Three Ages.
In contrast to the Slav Epic, The Three Ages would be intended for the people of all nations, cultures, and races to admire and embrace.
However, to the dismay of the world of art, Alphonse could not complete the piece. For his anxiety towards the impending 2nd World War and the Nazi occupation of his homeland led to his failing mental and physical health. The following is what remains of The Three Ages. (Mucha Foundation, none)

From left to right, The Age of Reason, The Age of Wisdom, The Age of Love.
(Mucha Foundation, none)

For context, The Age of Reason represents human logic and fixed thought, while The Age of Love represents the emotion and irrationality of human psyche. Between them stands The Age of Wisdom, indicating the viewer that only our experience and proper judgement can harmoniously unite the 2 aspects of human perception.

With that, Alphonse Maria Mucha had left his final mark on the artistic world, a fractured, incomplete footprint. His death can be attributed to both the onset of pneumonia and possible physical stress as a result of abuse by the Nazis.
On the 14 of July, 1939 an artist, patriot, and above all else an idealist passes. Alphonse’s funeral would be held in Prague, the capital of his homeland, despite Nazi German law.
(Mucha Foundation, none)

References:

McGill, D 2017, Artists with tragic deaths: Alphonse Mucha, viewed 28 June 2019, <https://owlcation.com/humanities/Artists-with-Tragic-Deaths-Alphonse-Mucha>

Augustyn, A Bauer, P none, Art Nouveau, viewed 28 June 2019, <https://www.britannica.com/biography/Alphonse-Mucha>

Rogallery none, Alphonse Mucha, Czech (1860-1939), viewed 28 June 2019, <https://www.rogallery.com/Mucha_Alphonse/mucha-biography.htm >

Mucha Foundation none, Alphonse Mucha timeline, viewed 28 June 2019, <http://www.muchafoundation.org/timeline/alphonse-mucha-timeline>

Mazzino, A 2011, Gismonda poster | Alphonse Mucha | 1894, viewed 28 June 2019,
<https://silverandexact.com/2011/01/21/gismonda-poster-alphonse-mucha-1894/>

Museums 2015, Daily art story: Mucha’s Seasons, viewed 29 June 2019,
<http://museu.ms/article/details/108761/daily-art-story-muchas-seasons>

Mucha Foundation none, The Seasons, viewed 29 June 2019,
<http://www.muchafoundation.org/gallery/browse-works/object/80>

Boris none, The Slavic Epic – the story of Slavs in paintings, viewed 29 June 2019,
<https://www.slavorum.org/the-slavic-epic-the-story-of-slavs-in-paintings/>

Mucha Foundation none, Study for ‘The Three Ages’ triptych: Reason, Wisdom and Love [unfinished project], viewed 29 June 2019,
<http://www.muchafoundation.org/gallery/browse-works/object/258>

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