Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mucha to Love

Alphonse Mucha was a Czech artist who created and defined the style known as Art Nouveau.  Mucha was a gifted artist from birth but wasn’t publically or properly known until 1894.  Thanks to a “right place, right time” scenario, Mucha received his big break at 34 years of age when he was given the opportunity to paint a poster for Sarah Bernhardt, the most famous actress in Paris at the time.  For many years he painted, designed jewelry, carpets, wallpaper, theater sets, and even helped create official banknotes and postage when Czechoslovakia won it’s independence after World War I.  In 1939, the year of his death, Mucha was arrested by the Gestapo for producing ‘reactionary’ art and fell ill with pneumonia.  Although he was later released he never recovered from the incident and passed away at the age of 79.  I fell in love with Mucha’s work when my father stumbled upon a compilation book of his paintings during one of our Barnes and Noble excursions.  I wasn’t very familiar with the Art Nouveau style and it was the closest “love at first sight” experience I’ve had to date.  Mucha’s work literally left me speechless.  When Dan Riedel, the incredibly talented artist who designed our logo, asked what the inspiration behind the sketch should be it didn’t take long for us to decide on Mucha’s work.  He did an amazing job bringing the same elegance and flow to the Lillian’s Paintbrush and Design Muse logos…you can really see Mucha’s influence, which I was ecstatic about.  I wanted to share a few of my favorite paintings with you- I hope you find them to be as exceptionally beautiful as I do.


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