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April 20, 2019

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Multifaceted Mucha, prince of poster art

ALPHONSE Mucha’s (1860-1939) Chinese name — 慕夏 (longing for summer) — is pretty much an echo of his work.

The first Mucha retrospective in China at the Pearl Art Museum features over 200 original works from the Mucha family collection, including posters, jewelry and photographs. Some have never been on public display.

The Mucha family collection is the most comprehensive collection of Mucha’s work, representing all aspects of his artistic achievements. The Mucha Foundation is an independent, non-profit making charity founded by Mucha’s grandson John Mucha and daughter-in-law Geraldine Mucha.

The exhibition, which coincides with the 80th anniversary of Mucha’s passing, is a key event of the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and the Czech Republic.

The exhibit highlights six facets of Mucha: bohemian, people’s painter, international artist, mystic, patriot and philosopher.

In these various fields, Mucha demonstrated his multifaceted thinking. He was a painter, sculptor, photographer, designer, teacher and peace activist.

Active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Czech maestro rose to fame when he designed a theater poster for France’s most famous actress at the time — Sarah Bernhardt. From then on, Sarah Bernhardt’s image was central to many of Mucha’s posters.

His designs for the Exposition Universal de Paris 1900 enhanced his reputation and career. His luxuriant and graceful personal style led the Art Nouveau Movement, which was initially named “Le Style Mucha.”

Mucha style was popular in Europe and America at the turn of the 20th century. The artist, praised by the media as “the world’s greatest decorative artist” and “the prince of poster art,” was the chief style influence of his time.

In addition to his popular decorative pieces, there are works that reveal Mucha’s patriotism and pursuit of peace. He was eager to convey love through art, unite the national spirit, and promote peace and collective progress. These ideals were especially evident in the 20 historical paintings “The Slav Epic,” produced in his later years.

During the exhibition, the Pearl Art Museum will host an education program, inviting art historians, designers and artists to give lectures and workshops on topics such as “The Art Nouveau Movement” and “Decorative Art.”


Date: Through July 21 (closed on Mondays), Tuesday to Friday, 10am-7pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10am-10pm

Tickets: 120 yuan

Venue: Pearl Art Museum

Address: 8/F, 1588 Wuzhong Rd


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