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Alphons Mucha

Czech Republic Born in: 1860
Alfons Mucha is a Czech artist born in 1860 in Ivancice in the Czech Republic and died in Prague in 1939. As a child, he draws a lot and has the habit of caricaturing his comrades. A good calligrapher and designer, he was first hired as a clerk and then worked for the Kautsky-Brioché-Burghardt house. He then moved to Mikulov where he painted landscapes and portraits. In 1885, he entered the Munich Academy of Arts for two years. At the age of 27, he left for Paris where he enrolled at the Académie Julian then was hired by the important publishing house Armand Colin. Living in Montmartre, Alphons Mucha met many artists there, including Gauguin. He is also interested in photography and produces illustrations for the press. In 1894, he happened to produce his first poster for a play by Sarah Bernhardt, "Gismonda". His poster was a real success and he collaborated with Sarah Bernhardt for six years with an exclusive contract for the theater. The actress having an international reputation, many brands then flock to Mucha's door to order works from her (Job cigarettes, Lu cookies, Ruinart champagne, etc.). Gradually, the name of Art Nouveau was given to Mucha's style and orders poured in from all over the world. In 1897, the Galerie la Bodinière organized an exhibition in his honor, then other exhibitions followed, always more prestigious. In 1900, he was asked to participate in the Universal Exhibition and in 1905, he left for New York where his arrival was a major event. He then returned to France where he wanted to have more time to devote himself to painting. In 1908, he produced his last great Art Nouveau work: the decoration of the German Theater. In 1910, Mucha decides to devote the rest of his life to painting twenty large-scale paintings representing a symbolic epic of the Slavic people since Antiquity. Mucha then undertakes a study trip, then in 1911, settles in Zbirov where he works on these paintings. In 1919, the first seven paintings were exhibited in Prague. The first eleven left for the United States and caused a sensation. In 1921, he returned definitively to Europe and in 1928, his Slavic epic was officially delivered to the city of Prague.
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