Taking as its theme the quote 'The aim of art is to celebrate beauty', the exhibition shows Alphonse Mucha's extraordinary work which really has come to epitomise all that is 'art nouveau': swirls of hair, the movement of fabric and nature and of course, beautiful women. I was surprised to find how modern his vision was from posters to celebrity and the synergy of packaging and advertising.
|Biscuits Lefèvre-Utiles (1896)|
|I'll just have a smoke...|
|...then I'll hop on my bike...|
Mucha was so modern in terms of his vision of what art meant to people in the modern age. At the end of the 1890 he produced a series of decorative panels on themes such as the arts (from which Dance above comes), seasons, precious stones, flora and times of day. Some of these pictures appeared as prints, some in calendars, all available and accessible to an audience who craved art they could own and appreciate in their homes. Like me, buying my poster at SavaCentre outside Reading, the Parisian public could place a swirling Mucha woman on their wall.
|Song of Bohemia (1918)|
|Model posing in Mucha's studio (1899-1900)|
I cannot recommend the exhibition enough, especially if you are after a little art nouveau glamour in your life. The whole effect of the rooms is to beguile and engulf you in a swirl of hair and magic. The art of Alphonse Mucha is more than just the advertising posters and this is the perfect place to discover how much more. Mind you, the advertising posters are pretty amazing. This might well be the most beautiful exhibition of the year...
To find out more, including opening times, visit the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum pages here.