Brief History : Art Nouveau (Mucha)


For a brief and brilliant period at the end of the 19th century – starting around 1890, and tailing off before World War One – Art Nouveau dominated the cultural scene. Everything from domestic furnishings and decorative art to architecture and advertising was characterised by its curvilinear elegance and organic forms inspired by nature. Even today, more than a century after the emergence of Art Nouveau, artists and designers continue to be inspired by the floral elements, natural features and colours of this enduring style.
Art Nouveau was characterised by a renewed interest in natural, flowing forms and a subjective feeling for spiritual content. Curves, spirals and rich ornamentation became popular features of the style and were applied to glass, ceramics, architecture and graphic art.
One of the most influential artists of the Art Nouveau era is definitely Alphonse Mucha (Alfons Mucha), who became well known especially thanks to his posters commissioned for Sarah Bernhardt’s theatre in Paris. By 1898, Mucha had become a famous and creative Art Nouveau artist. He designed and published postcards, theatre and advertisement posters, numerous illustrations and decorative panels series, set around central themes inspired by nature, some printed on silk. He produced an astonishing amount of drawings, pastel or watercolor studies and designs for interior decorations, cutlery and dinner object, jewellery and fashion.

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