Alphonse Mucha

The Spirit of Art Nouveau

Victor Arwas, Jana Brabcová-Orlíková, and Anna Dvorák; With an Introduction by Ronald F. Lipp and Suzanne Jackson

View Inside Price: $65.00

April 20, 1998
344 pages, 9 3/4 x 11 3/4
150 b/w + 205 color illus.
ISBN: 9780300074192

Published in association with Art Services International

Out of Print

Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) was one of the most important decorative artists working in Paris at the turn of the century. His distinctive and original posters and his decorative panels in le style Mucha became almost synonymous with French Art Nouveau. The admirer and iconographer of Sarah Bernhardt, he was also well known as the creator of familiar advertisements and as a book illustrator. Yet there was much more to Mucha’s achievement than this. At the height of his career as a decorative artist, he became convinced that art should serve ideas, he became chief artistic and cultural adviser to the interwar Czech government, and he completed a major and controversial fresco cycle, the Slav Epic, as well as portraits and large symbolic paintings.

This book—the first full-scale treatment of Mucha’s entire oeuvre—includes discussions and reproductions of paintings, posters, panneaux decoratifs, pastels, drawings, and illustrations from throughout his career. In addition, the authors provide essays on Mucha’s Paris years; his association with Sarah Bernhardt; the importance of American patronage on his later work; his graphic and painterly techniques; and the problems connected with the conservation of the large canvases.

This lavishly illustrated book is the catalogue for an exhibition of Mucha’s work that will tour the United States, beginning in San Diego in 1998.

Published in association with Art Services International, Washington, D.C.

Victor Arwas is director of Editions Graphiques. Jana A. Brabcova is former chief curator of prints and drawings at the National Gallery of Prague. Jean-Marie Bruson is conservator at the Musee Carnavalet. Anna Dvorak is librarian at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Jack Rennert is president of Posters Please, Inc.

"[An] excellent book."—Fiona McCarthy, Times Literary Supplement

"Focus[es] on Mucha’s entire career in sculpture, jewelry, book illustration, décor and photography, as well as his graphic work. It is a delight to see his original pencil and watercolor sketches for some of the better known images…[This book contains] valuable essays on the role of photography in Mucha’s work, his foray into commercial sculpture and the entire saga of "The Slav Epic" murals…The book present[s] an array of Mucha’s work in a variety of mediums, offering the most complete view of his entire career, as well as detailed examinations of his life and esoteric beliefs."—Alan Andres, Boston Book Review

"Though numerous works on Mucha have appeared in the past few decades, none have been as exhaustive as this illustrated group of essays by noted European experts. The full-scale treatment covers paintings, decorative panels, pastels, drawings, photographs, jewelry, and advertisements as well as numerous book and magazine illustrations. . . . This lavish homage may prove to be the most important study of an amazing and prolific artist"—Library Journal

"Czech artist Mucha has a claim to be considered the most important single feature in Art Nouveau. . . . He was a major figure, and the cultural history of his time cannot be understood without him. We may thank the contributors to this excellent volume for presenting the entire scope of his achievement."—Choice

"The breadth of the essays and sheer volume of illustrations, many of which betray Mucha’s Slavic temperament, amply show Alphonse Mucha to be far more than a poster designer and decorator, in truth a deeply symbolic and complex artist."—Adelia V. Williams, French Review