Last Chance: Alphonse Mucha in Rome

The first major Italian retrospective of the work of Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) closes 11 September 2016 following a four-month run at the Complesso del Vittoriano in Rome. While Mucha is best known for his pastel-and-floral themed advertising posters, the exhibit also features a rare study for “The Slav Epic” cycle No. 14: The Defense of Sziget (1913-14), from the series of monumental paintings Mucha worked on for more than two decades.

While not immediately as popular in Italy as he was in France following his breakthrough with Sarah Bernhardt’s iconic Gismonda (1894) poster, Mucha’s motifs permeate Italian stile floreale and German Jugendstil from the turn of the 20th Century. Italian artists including Leopoldo Metlicovitz (1868-1944) and Marcello Dudovich (1878-1962) continued to overlap the spheres of advertising, the decorative arts, and painting.

Gismonda, 1894. The Alphonse Mucha Foundation.

Médée, 1898. The Alphonse Mucha Foundation.

Mucha seated in front of panels from “The Slav Epic,” c. 1920, at the Trade Fair Palace in Prague. Adam Marelli Photography.

Superpasta Stucky Venezia, Marcello Dudovich, 1918. Wikimedia Commons.

Il Ragno Azzurro, Leopoldo Metlicovitz, 1910. Wikimedia Commons.

Further Reading:

The Alphonse Mucha Foundation

Agnes Husslein-Arco and Jean Louis Gaillemin (eds.). Alphonse Mucha. London: Prestel, 2014.

Victor Artwas, Jana Brabcová-Orlíková, and Anna Dvorák. Alphonse Mucha: The Spirit of Art Nouveau. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998.

Dario Cimorelli and Anna Villari. Posters: Advertising and Italian Fashion, 1890-1950. Milan: Silvana Editoriale, 2013.

Posted by Jean Marie Carey

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