|The Arts-Dance,Alfons Mucha, 1898|
Alfons Mucha (1860-1939) spent his early career in Paris, working in the Art Nouveau style, with much of that output being theater posters, particularly of Sarah Bernhardt. (It’s a fixation that I can definitely understand.)
A Czech by birth, in the second part of his career he returned to his homeland of Bohemia-Moravia (Austria) and painted a series of colossal canvases known as The Slav Epic. This collection was later donated to the country of Czechoslovakia. It remains on display in Prague.
Mucha is probably best known for his commercial art, such as the a fore-mentioned theatrical posters. However, he also designed jewelry and decorative architectural panels, developed various decorative motifs and taught illustration and design.
While his style was considered “dated” by his death, his works experience periodic revivals as interest in Art Nouveau waxes and wanes. It’s said that Mucha himself didn’t think much of the Art Nouveau movement, preferring to be known for his paintings such as The Slav Epic.