Today’s image is a lithograph by the Czech painter, Alphonse Mucha, titled “F. Champenois Imprimeur-Éditeur,” 1897. It was originally an advertisement for a printing business. If you study Mucha’s works, you’ll see he often reworked elements of earlier pieces for the many designs he produced. He re-used this image for an assortment of vendors.
I’ve liked and admired Mucha’s work since his poster for Job Rolling Papers became a staple of 1970’s dorm rooms, but I never took the time to research his life. It turns out, lots of people appreciate his work and there’s plenty of information about him online.
Here’s a snippet from Wiki: “Mucha produced a flurry of paintings, posters, advertisements, and book illustrations, as well as designs for jewelry, carpets, wallpaper, and theatre sets in what was termed initially The Mucha Style but became known as Art Nouveau (French for “new art”). Mucha’s works frequently featured beautiful young women in flowing, vaguely Neoclassical-looking robes, often surrounded by lush flowers which sometimes formed halos behind their heads. In contrast with contemporary poster makers he used pale pastel colors.”
How about that? Mucha is considered the Father of Art Nouveau. He originated a style, which made the leap to architecture, furnishings, and fashion. Impressive.
If you browse this selection of posters at the Mucha Foundation site, you’ll see soft colors dominate many of them, looking to my eye, washed out and colorless. His style is a popular one, and his works have been imitated, updated, integrated and elevated. It’s interesting to see the originals they are based on.
Again from the Mucha Foundation, their “Mucha at a glance” has concise biographical info: