Mucha Madness

It is difficult to not explore Mucha when discussing divine Sarah. The man was essential to her image of HighGlamour.

He has greatly influenced my taste from very early on.

As a boy of eight my wildly eccentric Nana presented me with a wonderful  Whitman’s tin, it bore the image of the familiar “Zodiac” panel (inside Nana had stuffed it with lead soldiers from WWI, marvelous toys). The tin was a wonder to me,   I probably loved it more then the soldiers ( as I said before, I was a sissy boy). This exotic box with it’s  scratched and rusted Orientalist decoration opened a world of beauty known as Mucha to me.

Thank you Nana, recquiscat in pace.

As I mentioned Mucha controlled, with meddling, Sarah’s image.

This famous poster of Miss Bernhardt from the production of Gismonda is well known.

Gismonda

1895 printed by Lemercier

It is one of my favorites.

The glamour shot that follows, it’s inspiration.

It is tempting to go on about Mucha’s work, but others have done a much finer job then I am capable of.

He is justly popular.

I will focus on the trivial, as that is where my talents happily  lie.

Let’s discuss Mucha’s pretty Studio, it’s a grand affair.

I’m thinking this is his second studio, rue Val de Grace, 1895. He had another,charmingly described as” above Madame Charlotte’s cremerie”. I  don’t profess to be a Mucha scholar, I just like pretty pictures.

Location may be uncertain, but it’s influence on my taste is abundantly clear. It is a magical place.

Mucha’s studio.

Anyone who knows my taste is aware of my affection for graven images, the Madonna front and center drives me mad.

I wish my own work warranted such brazen display.

Loving the stuffed pheasant, always room for taxidermy.

In my own modest way, I have attempted to recreate Mucha-stile in my own home studio.

Mucha-stile on a budget.

Authors home studio, my pugdog Daisy in foreground, dachshund  Buddy further on.

As I said Mucha still inspires, I still have the Whitman’s tin, more scratched and rusty as ever, but still treasured.

Nana’s gift to her sissy grandson.

The inspiration for the tin, the Zodiac panel.

Zodiac panel.

In addition to a shared love of writhing foliate bejeweled ornament and overdecorated studios, Alphonse Mucha and I share a birthdate. I am quite pleased with that coincidence.

Alphonse Maria Mucha

self portrait

b. July 24th 1860

d. July 14th 1939

(as I was born in “62 perhaps I will live to 2039 or so, hope so)

Mucha died in Czechoslovakia, a victim of Nazi harassment. Shortly after German occupation, they interrogated poor Alphonse. clearly a man capable of making such loveliness couldn’t handle the thuggery. He died shortly after the assault.

Although the Nazis had banned attendance to his funeral, 100,000 bravely defied the order and gave Mucha the respect due to a great genius.

Recquiscat in Pace

for further interesting tidbits, please check out  the Mucha Foundation site

Have a great weekend.

Good Shabbos!

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9 Responses to “Mucha Madness”

  1. Wow, I didn’t know he lived so long or died so tragic circumstances…What a excellent posting!

    • babylonbaroque Says:

      I don’t want you to think he was beaten to death or anything, but at his advanced age, the interrogation might have been a tipping point. He died shortly after.
      thanks for responding,
      LG

  2. I’m mad about Mucha’s magical women too! I always look to them for apparel inspiration. I think that means chitons will be very chic for Fall of 2010; at least for me!

  3. I think Madame Pamita will be quite fetching in a chiton.
    LG

  4. Wonderful studio, the draped fabrics and potted plants might well be staged, but they work so well. As for the Nazis, what can you say that hasn’t already been said? One of our worst inventions.

  5. Also meant to say that I loved the story of the Mucha tin box. That is such a great story. I think I would have preferred the tin to the soldiers as well. Perhaps your Nana realised your tastes at an early age, they are pretty sharp you know.

    • babylonbaroque Says:

      Like Mucha, i find myself staging a studio to a point in which I haven’t the space to work. The fundamental difference being he was brilliant and dishearteningly prolific.
      My Nana did know my taste, she had an antique shop and we shared a taste for the “too much”. She was a perfect grandmother, i wish I could have known her better. and yes, the soldiers were amazingly sharp, little evil guns, pointy and lead based, appropriate toy for children 🙂 .
      Take care,
      LG

  6. I have just discovered your site and am enjoying it. I am an avid fan of Mucha as well. His gloriously rendered is astonishingly fresh, in my opinion.
    I also lusted after his studio and over the top props, it does affect one’s surroundings…

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