The National Palace Museum Shows the Art Nouveau Works of Alphonse Mucha

artwork: Photo of Alphonse Mucha working on the canvases for "The Slav Epic", 1926. © Mucha Trust 2011. On view in "Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau & Utopia" at the National Palace Museum, in Taipei until September 12th.

Taipei, Taiwan – The National Palace Museum is proud to present “Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau & Utopia” on view until September 12th. “Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau & Utopia” presents an exhibition of works made a century ago, incorporating a wide range of disciplines. It is a superlative example of how art can be brought into ordinary life, and how life can be brought into art. The exhibition is divided into six sections, including A Bohemian in Paris, The Creator of ‘Le Style Mucha’, A Cosmopolitan, The Mystic, The Patriot and The Philosophical Artist. Mucha believed that art is everywhere and should be appreciated by people of all ages and from all walks of life. Reflecting this belief, this special exhibition offers a rare chance for immersion in Mucha’s artistic legacy.

artwork: Alphonse Mucha - "Zodiac" (decorative panel, originally designed for a calendar), 1896 Colour lithograph - 65.7 x 48.2 cm. © Mucha Trust 2011.The Art Nouveau movement reached the height of its development during the 1900 World Expo in Paris. Manifest in a wide range of fields such as painting, posters, architecture, furniture, crafts and design, this movement sparked a global trend, cementing Alphonse Mucha’s (1860-1939) iconic position in European decorative art. The Art Nouveau era did not merely set high standards of architectural design, its new aesthetic underpinned all areas of life by elevating the artistic standards of everyday objects.

When appreciating Mucha’s works his combination of traditional realism is obvious, as is the influence of his burgeoning photographic skills. Now deemed the forerunner of the contemporary creative industry, Mucha interwove commercial design with everyday life. Mucha’s emphasis on his subjects, through a unique combination of photographic and historical elements, has also influenced the character design of contemporary animation and comic books.

Though born in Czechoslovakia, Alphonse Mucha developed his unique style in Paris where he achieved world-wide recognition for his work. Returning to his hometown in his later years, Mucha’s patriotism is manifest in his masterpieces from this period, which recount the history of Czechoslovakia and its people. His works, immersed in the aura of Art Nouveau, are renowned for their coquettish feminine figures, ornamental flowers, cascading hair and vividly harmonious hues.

artwork: Alphonse Mucha - "Le Pater" (text, illustrations and design by Mucha), Book published by H. Piazza et Cie, Paris, 1899 41 x 31 cm. - © Mucha Trust Densely composed, Mucha’s creations are permeated with floral and plants motifs amid symbolically complex patterns in multiple styles, incorporating Byzantine, Japanese woodblock, Rococo, Gothic, Jewish and Czech folk elements. Set against backgrounds imitating stained glass mosaic, the characters are embellished with gorgeous attire, jewelry, Arabic, Byzantine and other oriental decorative patterns, all topped off with Mucha’s signature silhouettes that further enhance his decorative Art Nouveau style. After Mucha’s death, abstract presentation of art became mainstream. Reflecting the isolation of Czechoslovakia on the international stage, Mucha’s name gradually fell into oblivion. However his style admired now, and cpied by modern artists.

The National Palace Museum in Taipei is the national museum of the Republic of China, and has a permanent collection of over 677,687 pieces of ancient Chinese artifacts and artworks, making it one of the largest in the world. The collection encompasses over 8,000 years of Chinese history from the Neolithic age to the late Qing Dynasty. Most of the collection are high quality pieces collected by China’s ancient emperors. The National Palace Museum and Palace Museum, located inside the Forbidden City in China, share the same original roots, which was split in two as a result of the Chinese Civil War. The new museum in Wai-shuang-hsi was completed in 1965.

Today the museum houses some 93,000 items of Chinese calligraphy, porcelain, bronzes, landscape paintings, portraiture and figurines from Beijing’s Forbidden City and 562,000 traditional books and documents. There are 6,044 bronzes, 5,200 paintings, 3,000 works of calligraphy, 12,104 pieces of jade, 3,200 examples of lacquer and enamel ware, as well as assorted carvings, fans, rubbings, coins and textiles. With a collection of this size, only 1% of the collection is exhibited at a given time. The rest of the collection is stored in temperature controlled basement vaults. Visit the museum’s website at …