Alphonse Mucha Chandon Cremant Imperial, 1899. Lithograph Poster.
Text below © Paul Page.

20.01.13: texts

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    "Mucha was saved from starvation by an order for some illustrations for a short story magazine." - Paul Page

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Just got my copy of Alphonse Mucha: The Complete Graphic Works and it took my breath away. More details can be found at amazon.com

20.01.05: biography ii

One of Mucha's new friends in Mikulov was the manager of a nearby large estate owned by the wealthy Count Khuen. Mucha designed an address for the staff to present to the Count's father-in- law on his sixtieth birthday, as a result of which the Count invited Mucha to paint a series of frescoes for the dining room of Emmahof, a castle he had just had built in the forest near Hrusovany. Mucha quickly found out how to paint frescoes and moved into the castle. Though he experienced some difficulty in the execution, he had no shortage of ideas. He also found that living in luxury was not overrated and made full use of the Count's extensive library, studying art and many other subjects.

mucha
princess hyacinth

After finishing the murals, Mucha was ready to go back to Vienna, but Count Khuen sent him instead to Gandegg, the family castle in the Tyrol. He was welcomed there by Count Khuen's brother, Count Egon, who was an amateur painter, and the two men spent many hours painting. Through an acquaintance of the Count's, Mucha met a painter who advised him to go to the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. In 1885 he sat the entrance examination and was admitted as a third-year student.

Munich was an exciting city for him, and although the Academy utterly ignored all innovation, his teachers were good and the curriculum, atmosphere and traditions reinforced his attachment to history painting. After completing his course, Mucha returned to Emmahof, where he painted frescoes for the billiard room. Count Khuen was prepared to finance further studies, and offered him a choice of Paris or Rome. He chose Paris, and arrived there in 1887.

mucha
seasons
(1896)

Mucha spoke not a word of French when he arrived. He enrolled at the Academic Julien, where he studied with Jules Lefebvre and Jean-Paul Laurens, devoting long hours to painting, then more hours to learning French. His fellow students included Maurice Denis, Bonnard and Serusier, but he preferred the company of other young Czechs, ate in Czech restaurants, and longed for his homeland. Count Khuen sent him 200 francs a month to pay for board and lodgings and tuition fees, but expected regular progress reports and drawings in return.

In the summer, Mucha met the Count in Munich and then spent the holidays at Emmahof, where he painted more frescoes on the castle walls. On his return to Paris, he found a room on the left bank and enrolled at the Academic Colarossi. He was hard at work there when, in 1889, he was advised that Count Khuen had decided to discontinue his financial asistance. It is not known why the Count made this decision - perhaps he felt that Mucha did not write often enough and was therefore ungrateful, or perhaps he felt that it was time that Mucha earned his own living. In any case, the artist was penniless.

mucha
pagenat on the vltava



Mucha was saved from starvation by an order for some illustrations for a short story magazine, Le Petit Parisien Illustre, and, a little later, by a commission to illustrate an epic poem for a Prague publisher.

Slewinsky, a Polish friend from the Academic Colarossi, dragged him away from his hovel and found him a room above Madame Charlotte's Crernerie in the rue de la Grande Chaumiere, opposite the Academic. Madame Charlotte was the widow of an army officer killed in 1870 when Paris was besieged by the Prussians, and she ran a restaurant for students, whom she treated as members of her own family. Mucha was thus in contact with students of every nationality and he heard all the gossip, particularly about available work. He produced weekly covers for another magazine, La Vie Populaire, and illustrated a book of fairy tales for Xavier Marmier, who submitted a number of the designs to the Salon where they received an Honourable Mention.

Of all the friends Mucha made at the Cremerie, perhaps the least likely was Gauguin. Gauguin arrived there in 1891, followed shortly by Willibrord Verkade, a young Dutchman who became one of his Nabis disciples before converting to Catholicism and joining a group of Benedictine painter monks at the Abbey of Beuron, from where he was sent to Prague to decorate a church. Gauguin meanwhile organised a sale of his own work to finance his longed-for trip to the Pacific. When he returned from Tahiti two years later, he had no money, but Madame Charlotte both lent him some and purchased a number of his paintings, while Mucha offered him the use of his studio and the two men worked together, each in his corner. As Mucha prospered, he moved to a large studio across the road and Gauguin followed. Mucha bought himself a harmonium, which he soon learned to play. He also took an amusing photograph of Gauguin seated at the harmonium wearing a shirt and jacket but neither trousers nor shoes nor socks...next page.

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Recommended Reading: Alphonse Mucha Masterworks

20.01.13: books & prints

Direct page links to Mucha books available at amazon.co.uk & amazon.com.

Mucha vintage exhibtion posters @ ebay.com (direct link) - just checked & a bigger selection than i've seen anywhere else

Biography | Gallery | Mucha Canvas Prints | Mucha Rarities | Blank Books Unlined
Bookmarks | Books | Greeting Cards | Keyrings | Magneto Notes Lined | Mousepads
Notepads | Postcards | Piezzo Lighters | Poster Books | Posters | Umbrellas
Wooden Pencils | Advertise | Mucha Books: Amazon.co.uk | Mucha Books: Amazon.com
Mucha vintage exhibtion posters @ ebay.com (direct link) - just checked & a bigger selection than i've seen anywhere else

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