Travelling exhibition to mark 150th anniversary of birth of Art Nouveau giant Alphonse Mucha

28-06-2010

One of the best known Czech visual artists, the Art Nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha, was born in July 1860. To mark the 150th anniversary of his birth, the Mucha Foundation is launching an exhibition called The Apotheosis of Love. The exhibit opens in Prague on Friday, before moving on to several other locations in the Czech Republic.

Final finishing touches were being applied on Monday at an exhibition that will present more than 100 works by the Art Nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha. The exhibition begins this Friday at Prague’s Obecní dům or Municipal House, itself a wonderful example of Art Nouveau. It has been organized by the Mucha Foundation, headed by the painter’s grandson John Mucha.

“The exhibition is divided into four themes which come under the overall umbrella of Apotheosis. The first part is the love of family, followed by the love of life, then love of beauty and harmony, and then love for his nation and humanity. These themes are reflected in the works that you will see.”

Alphonse Mucha was born on July 24, 1860, in the small Moravian town of Ivančice. He spent much of his life abroad, especially in Paris, before returning to Bohemia. The new exhibition covers much of his career, from early oil paintings which have never been displayed in the Czech Republic before, to his late works. These include original designs of stained glass windows for the St Vitus Cathedral in Prague. London-based Japanese art historian Tomoko Sato is the show’s curator.

Alphonse MuchaAlphonse Mucha “I wanted to show these particular images at the end of the exhibition as a climax because my approach to the exhibition was to show how his concept of love, starting from family to homeland, life and beauty. He cared about his nation, the humanity and peace. That kind of apotheosis – the highest form of love – is captured in that section.”

The majority of works displayed in the exhibition The Apotheosis of Love come from the collection of the Mucha Foundation. It features lithographs, oil paintings and drawings, as well as photographs that will also be exhibited for the first time in his native country.

There will be other events to mark the artist’s anniversary, but John Mucha says the show will be the only actual exhibition of his works – and one that will take his grandfather’s art around the country.

“The exhibition opens on July 2 here in Obecní dům, and it will be here till September 31. Then it moves to Kutná Hora; then it will go to Ostrava, Liberec and Plzeň. Rather than exporting things, as it happened, to Japan for instance, I wanted to celebrate the 150th anniversary by giving Czech people the possibility to see Alphonse’s art.”

More details about the exhibition The Apotheosis of Love can be found at www.muchafoundation.org.

28-06-2010