Alphonse Mucha: Master of Art Nouveau – in Rochester until January 19th

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The expressive and seductive work of Alphonse Mucha, characterized by his portrayals of elegant women and elaborate use of color and ornament, played a prominent role in shaping the aesthetics of the decorative style known as French Art Nouveau.

This exhibition presents over 80 works that range from rare original lithographs, drawings, and books to portfolios and ephemera. Due in part to the highly advanced reproduction techniques of his time, Mucha’s work reached an extremely broad public and attained enormous popularity. His compositions were so alluring that they became known as the “Style Mucha,” and embodied much of the artistic decorative endeavors around the turn of the 20th century.

The exhibit showcase more than 80 works, including rare original lithographs, drawings, books, portfolios, and other ephemera. A chance to closely study a master artist’s progress over many decades, as well as the decisions made between sketches and finished work, is valuable not only to other artists, but to anyone who still thinks that art just magically manifests or is an act of skill without the labor.

The exhibition beautifully contextualizes the artists’ work, drawing the viewer deeper into the experience of understanding the work at the time it was painted. To mention, how fascism affected Mucha’s life and career. Fascism encroached in the 1930s, Mucha’s work and cultural pride were denounced as reactionary, and when German troops invaded Czechoslovakia, he was in the first wave of arrests by the Gestapo. He was released after several days, but the stress of his interrogation and the invasion of his homeland weakened him, and Mucha died a few months later of a lung infection at the age of 78.

Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester. Rochester is a US city located very near lake Ontario, between bufalo and Syracuse.

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