Thursday, 2 April 2015

Major Alphonse Mucha retrospective UK

Alphonse Mucha : In Quest of Beauty, a major retrospective, comes to Britain. It will explore Mucha’s idea of beauty – the core principle underlying his artistic philosophy. "Featuring works mainly from Mucha’s Paris period, the exhibition will examine how Mucha’s distinctive style, popularly known as 'le style Mucha' in Paris, evolved and became synonymous with the international Art Nouveau style. The exhibition will also look at how his artistic philosophy is reflected in the development of his work beyond the ‘Art Nouveau’ period, with examples of works produced after his return to the Czech lands in 1910."

"The exhibition will make links between Mucha's work and philosophy and the Art Nouveau environment and Aesthetic collection of the Russell-Cotes Museum. Sir Merton Russell-Cotes's Bournemouth residence, built in the 'Art Nouveau' style as a home for his Japanese and High Victorian art collections, is an expression of the 'cult of beauty' - a notion celebrated by followers of the Aesthetic Movement in Britain. It will provide a fascinating spiritual backdrop to Mucha’s art."READ MORE HERE.

Mucha worked at a time when the lines between commercial art and fine art weren't quite so separate: think Toulouse Lautrec, Aubrey Beardsley. Mucha's art blends strong formal structure with elaborate inventive elements. Often his symbols come from Nature - the fertility of plants, the concept of constant growth and multiplication. The women are provocatively sensual, but unattainable fantasy.  It's elaborate in a 19th century way, but with the freshness of 20th century sensibility.    This, I think, creates an edgy tension which lifts it above the merely pictoral.

Mucha's son married Vitezslava Kapralova, the composer, about whom there's a lot on this site (follow the labels below) . Please read my article "Vitezslava Kapralova : Remarkable Woman, Remarkable Times", on the cultural renaissance in Czech culture between 1918 and 1938.

No comments: