Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Art Nouveau glass, Vršovice

Recently, Julie wrote to ask whether I could show a few more period details from the Art Nouveau houses in this district. So today, a rather unusual picture of an etched glass window from a drawing room door in a nearby apartment.

Although not actually by him, this design is completely typical of the work of Alfons Mucha, who must be the greatest Czech artist of the age. Mucha made his fortune in 1890s Paris, where his celebrated posters of actress Sarah Bernhardt are now considered international design classics. In fact, for many people nowadays, Mucha has come to define Art Nouveau. I reproduce one of his posters below for comparison.

Mucha's greatest work is the great cycle 'The Slav Epic' which tells the story, in a number of large-scale canvasses, of the history of the Czech people; it was commissioned at the time of the foundation of the new state of Czechoslovakia, for which Mucha also designed new stamps and banknotes. Only six months after the death of Karel Čapek, and equally distressed at the Nazi invasion, Mucha too died from a lung infection.


A few years ago I was honoured to be introduced to Geraldine Mucha, the artist's daughter-in-law. A sprightly 92-year-old, she has been the guardian of Mucha's legacy, a selection of which is now displayed in a museum dedicated to his work in the centre of Prague.

The Artchive

3 comments:

Julie said...

This is a most beguiling art nouveau image, Alex. Last northern Autumn (2008) I toured some of the art nouveau wonders of Hector Guimard in Paris. I do not know the work of Mucha but will follow up the information you have given.

Thank you ...

Jilly said...

How wonderful! I've always loved Mucha, and right, he says 'art nouveau.' I'm appalled to say I didn't know he was Czech. Two beautiful photographs. More!

The window, although not by Mucha, is so beautiful.

Chapa said...

Nice blog.

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