Alphonse Mucha (Czech, 1860–1939) was a famous poster designer and French Art Nouveau artist. Mucha was born in Ivancice, Moravia, and received his first job as a professional artist at the age of 19. He was denied acceptance into the Prague Academy of Fine Arts, but later studied at the Academy of Art in Munich, where he was sponsored by Count Khuen Belasi.

In 1887, after finishing two years of study, the Count agreed that Mucha should go to Paris to continue his studies. Mucha caught his next big break in 1894, when he was asked to design a poster for the production of Gismonda. When Sarah Bernhardt saw the magnificent piece, she offered Mucha a contract to not only make posters, but to also make stage and costume designs. During this time, he also agreed to make posters for the printer Champenois. Over the next 10 years, Mucha became a popular and wealthy Parisian artist. He also spent time teaching at Academie Colarossi and Academie Carmen during this period.

In 1899, the Austrian Government offered Mucha payment to do the interior design of the Pavilion of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which in 1900 became a portion of the Paris International Exhibition. While Mucha was working on the drawings, he visualized the creation of a monument to the Slav people, which he would later call Slav Epic. Mucha decided to seek fame in America, but found that the country wasn''''t as great as he had been promised. He met Marie Chytilova, and they married in 1906. Their daughter, Jaroslava, was born in 1909.

While in America, he also met Charles Crane, a millionaire with a love for the Slav people, who agreed to supply the money for Slav Epic. Mucha went back to Bohemia in 1910, where he spent the rest of his life creating the famous Slav Epic. It is made up of 20 paintings celebrating over 1,000 years of the history of the Slav people. Mucha and Marie''''s son, Jiri, was born in 1915.

In 1939, Mucha died of pneumonia and was buried in Prague. Later, his work Slav Epic was put up as a permanent exhibit in 1968 in the castle of Moravsky Krumlov. More than 100 exhibits from throughout the artist''''s life are now found in the Baroque Kaunický Palace, the very first Mucha Museum in Prague.

Timeline

1860
Born in Ivancice, Moravia near the city of Brno in the modern Czech Republic.
1895
Signed a six year contract with Sarah Bernardt to produce stage and costume designs as well as posters
1898
Began publishing graphics with “Champenois”
1900
Published "Documents Decoratifs"
1900
Designed the Bosnia-Hercegovina Pavilion at the World's Fair in Paris
1900
Published Documents Decoratifs
1939
Returned home after a Gestapo questioning session and died shortly thereafter.

Exhibitions

1980
Grand Palais, Paris
1928
Trade Fair Palace
1897
Symbolist 20th exhibition
1897
Topic Gallery, Prague