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By Patrick Bade

On the finish of the nineteenth century, Alphonse Mucha created a sensation within the streets of Paris together with his posters representing the French actress Sarah Bernhardt. His paintings introduced the hot creative type paintings Nouveau, and received its author reputation and creative renown. even if, Mucha's expertise used to be by no means restrained to lithography. Shading the realm with a colorful sensuality, Mucha's paintings additionally expresses itself within the monumental Read more...

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Qxp 12/16/2010 9:37 AM Page 64 Preparations were in hand for the forthcoming Exposition Universelle of 1889 and Eiffel’s tower was rising on the city horizon. Gauguin in Brittany and Van Gogh in Arles were each on the brink of significant breakthroughs in their art. Together with their fellow Postimpressionists they were laying the foundations for much of what would happen in Western art over the following half century. Iris (from The Four Flowers series) 1898 Colour lithograph, 100 x 41 cm. Mucha Museum, Prague.

Study for Zodiac 1896 Pencil, ink and watercolour on paper, 67 x 48 cm. Mucha Museum, Prague. qxp 12/16/2010 9:23 AM Page 34 The result was a grandiose architectural fancy-dress ball. The Art Nouveau style, of which Mucha would later become one of the most famous representatives, reacted directly against this kind of pompous wedding cake historicism. For the moment though, Mucha was deeply influenced by the showy and decorative art of Hans Mackart, the most successful Viennese painter of the Ringstrasse period.

Salon des Cent: Exposition de l’Œuvre de Mucha 1897 Colour lithograph, 67 x 47 cm. Mucha Museum, Prague. qxp 1/5/2011 2:58 PM Page 46 Even the posters of the 1890s, on which Mucha’s fame now largely rests, can be seen as reflecting this desire to decorate walls. Such a desire was common to many artists of the fin-de-siècle. The large scale decorative paintings of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, the most widely-admired and influential artist of the period, were commonly referred to as “fresques” though they were in fact oil paintings on canvas that simulated the effect of frescoes.

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