Sep 25th, 2018, 10:20 PM

The Mucha Foundation at Paris' Luxembourg Museum

By Joan Jessiman
Image Credit: Flikr/ KyleGeib
Paris welcomes Prague as the Luxembourg Museum exhibits the works of Czech artist Alphonse Mucha.

The Luxembourg Museum's newest exhibit features Czech artist Alphonse Mucha. The Mucha Foundation is responsible for this new exhibit, and is run by my father’s aunt and uncle, Sarah and John Mucha. I attended the opening of the exhibit on September 11 and spent time walking through with Sarah Mucha. She said she loved the exhibit and thought “it was so special to see the art in Paris and in this space. Our curator Tomoko Sato was incredible.” She later mentioned that they had decided to choose the Luxembourg Museum and that it has been an amazing opening night.

The Mucha Foundation was founded in 1992 and its mission statement aims “to preserve and conserve the Mucha Trust Collection and promote the work of Alphonse Mucha.” Mucha believed that art was to be enjoyed by as many people as possible and Foundation encourages this with their worldwide exhibition program and Mucha Museum In Prague. The exhibit in Paris will remain until the end of January 2019. The Luxembourg museum states that their “exhibit is the first devoted to Alphonse Mucha in the capital since the retrospective of the Grand Palais in 1980.”

Image Credit: Flikr/ KyleGeib

Alphonse Mucha was an important figure in the European Art Nouveau movement and worked across mediums creating posters, jewelry, painting, sculpture, and photography. Art Nouveau was an artistic style that began in Belgium and France in the late 19th century. The style, as explained by the curators of Le Grand Palais, is "characterized by forms inspired by nature, when the curve dominates."

Paris Art Nouveau didn't seek to conform artists, and at the end of the 19th century art nouveau was present in painting, sculpture, graphic arts and more.  Born in the Czech Republic, Mucha’s art and style quickly became known across the Czech Republic and the world at the start of his career.  Mucha studied graphic design in Paris in 1887 and then later went on to be an illustrator. He admired the female form and used models to perfect what he envisioned for his prints and paintings. By the 1890s, his ‘advertisement posters’ and his unique style took “center stage in the visual culture of the French capital," according to The Mucha Foundation. 

Image Credit: Flikr/KyleGeib

As you enter the exhibit, the space is smaller than expected. You begin by walking through rooms that wind and turn. Sarah explained to me that the layout of the exhibit follows both timeline and medium for the most part. There is text on the walls and cases of books telling the story of Alphonse Mucha’s life as well as his time as a known artist. Mucha is most known for his advertising posters which reflect modern life at the end of the century in Paris. “The subjects range from cultural events and railway services to diverse consumer products such as perfume, cigarette paper, beer champagne, chocolate, and biscuits, as well as bicycles," states plaques designed by the Mucha Foundation. Mucha signed an exclusive contract with the Parisian company F. Champenois Imprimeur-Editeur, with whom he worked and created his prints that are known internationally. If you want to see the exhibit online you can watch a virtual tour on the Mucha Foundation website here

Image Credit: Flikr/Kyle Geib (1,3) MCAD Library (2)