press release

The Kunsthal Rotterdam is staging the first Dutch retrospective exhibition of work by the world-famous Jugendstil (German form of Art Nouveau) artist Alphonse Mucha. This substantial exhibition includes mainly paintings but also metres-high posters and works of applied art, for instance winsome and alluring women, jewellery and perfume bottles. Photographs by Mucha of Paul Gauguin, Auguste Rodin and others are also on show for the first time. Alphonse Mucha was born in 1860 in Moravia (the modern Czech Republic). As no other, he was able to convey the somewhat melancholy Slav temperament in his pictures. In 1887, he moved to Paris, the hotbed of art, where he found instant fame with his first poster, designed in 1894 for the play ‘Gismonde’ and featuring Sarah Bernhardt in the leading role. Mucha was to Jugendstil what Sarah Bernhardt was to the Paris theatre – the one master, the other star; it was not for nothing that Art Nouveau was initially known in France as ‘le style Mucha’. The actress and the artist entered into a six-year collaboration that enjoyed prolific results: Mucha was asked to design stage decors, costumes and jewellery for the diva. The whole of Paris was overwhelmed by his work, to the extent even that his ever colourful posters were stolen from the streets. The delicate lines, fresh pastels and sumptuous motifs of his pictures of sensual women became the fin-de-siècle icons. Alongside these paintings, the Kunsthal will be showing how the masterpiece ‘The Slav Epic’ came about, a series of twenty paintings chronicling Slav history on a magnificent and compelling scale. This is also the first showing of Mucha’s photographic work, which includes a photograph of Paul Gauguin in Mucha’s studio. Pressetext

only in german

Alfons Mucha (1860-1939)
Meister des Jugendstils