Title: Alphonse Mucha
Works of: Alphonse Mucha
Edited by: Tomoko Sato
Promoted by: Pallavicini s.r.l.
Where: Palazzo Pallavicini, Via San Felice 24, Bologna
From 29 Sep 2018 until 20 Jan 2019
From Thursday to Sunday 11am – 8pm
Closed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Last entry at 7pm.
Special opening: Dec 26 – Dec 31 (last entry 4pm) – Jan 1 (from 2pm) – Jan 2
– Adult: €13,00
– Reduced fee: €11,00 (6-17 years, +65 with valid ID, students up to 25 years with student ID, military personnel with army ID, tourist guides with Tourist Guides Association ID, journalists with Journalist Association ID, disabled carer together with 1 disabled person, ICOM members with ICOM ID)
– Schools: €5,00 (+2 free teachers for each class)
– Bologna Welcome/Bologna Card Musei: €9,00
– University Thursday (student
ID mandatory): €9,00
– Free admission: chidren 0-5, disabled person with disability ID
– Families with children 6-17 years:
Parent €10,00 Children 6-17 €8,00
– Open ticket: €16,00 | valid until the end of the exhibition
Free small pets only in its carrier.
From Saturday 29 September 2018 for the first time in Bologna an important retrospective on the work of Alphonse Mucha, one of the greatest performers of Art Nouveau; until 20 January 2019 the wonderful eighteenth-century halls of Palazzo Pallavicini (Via San Felice 24, Bologna) will frame 80 of the most famous works by the Czech artist, 27 of which are exhibited for the first time in Italy.
The exhibition, organized by Chiara Campagnoli, Rubens Fogacci and Deborah Petroni of Pallavicini srl in collaboration with Mucha Foundation and with the curatorship of Tomoko Sato, puts an unprecedented look on the work of the great artist
Czech-born Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) was one of the most influential and celebrated artists in fin-de-siècle Paris, best known for his graphic work such as his theatre posters for the ‘super-star’ actress Sarah Bernhardt and his decorative panels featuring graceful women. Mucha created a distinctive style – le style Mucha – characterised by harmonious compositions, sinuous forms, organic lines and muted palette, which became synonymous with the newly emerging decorative style of the time – Art Nouveau.
Despite the powerful impact of Mucha’s style, however, his aesthetic ideas behind its development are less well known. The exhibition Alphonse Mucha: In Quest of Beauty draws on the latest research to examine the theoretical aspect of his work, especially the idea of beauty – the core principle of his art.
Showing some 80works selected from the collection of the Mucha Trust, the exhibition will feature Mucha’s iconic posters and his decorative works from his Paris period and also it will look at how the artist expressed his Czech nationalism with his artistic language after his return to his native Czech lands.
The exhibition will be arranged in three thematic sections. Women - Icons & Muses, Le Style Mucha’ – A Visual Language, Beauty – The Power Of Inspiration
Women - Icons & Muses - The exhibition will start with Gismonda, the very first poster designed by Mucha for Sarah Bernhardt. Portraying the greatest French actress of the time, Mucha transformed ‘The Divine Sarah’ into a Byzantine goddess. This poster (shown right) received immediate acclaim when it appeared on the billboards of Paris on New Year’s Day 1895. Its visual impact – with an elongated format and subtle pastel colours, elegantly flowing outlines rendering the sublime image of the actress, and its balance between simplicity and elaboration – was striking in its novelty.
Delighted with the success of this poster, Bernhardt offered Mucha a contract to produce stage and costume designs as well as posters for her theatre productions. Under this contract, which ran from 1895 until 1900, Mucha produced six further posters for Bernhardt’s productions, including La Dame aux Camélias (1896), Lorenzaccio (1896) and La Samaritaine (1897).
The success of Gismonda also brought Mucha numerous commissions for designing advertising posters for commercial products, which included famous brands such as JOB (cigarette Gismonda (1894) paper), Lefèvre-Utile (biscuits) and Waverley (US bicycles).
This section will look at two groups of works: theatre posters for Sarah Bernhardt and advertising posters for commercial products. Studying closely these works, it will explore Mucha’s design strategies, especially his use of images of beautiful women as icons and vehicles for commercial messages. The exhibits will also include packaging designs and magazine covers.
Le Style Mucha - In Mucha’s time, the concept of art went through revolutionary changes with the advent of modernism. Accordingly, the classic notion of ‘beauty’, one of the defining features of art, was also challenged and expanded to embrace new ideas. In such a time of change, Mucha was one who pursued the unchanging, universal value in art. In this pursuit, Mucha came to believe that the ultimate objective of art was the expression of beauty, which would be achieved, in his view, through harmony between internal contents (ideas, messages) and external forms. As he wrote in his teaching notes, which were posthumously published as Lectures on Art(1975), Mucha believed that the role of the artist was to inspire people with this harmonious beauty and eventually to elevate the quality of their lives through his art.
In order to achieve this goal, Mucha developed a distinctive design formula as ‘a language’ for communication, using the image of a woman – the symbol of his message of beauty - combined with flowers and other decorative motifs derived from his native Czech folk art as well as various exotic cultures. For Mucha, decorative panels (panneaux décoratifs) were an ideal means to realise his aspiration. Pioneered by Mucha and his publisher, F. Champenois, these were posters primarily without text, designed purely for decorative purposes. Produced in large quantities, these panels were available to the wider public, becoming an alternative form of art, which could be displayed in ordinary households.
Of the panels, Mucha later wrote: “I was happy to be involved in an art for the people and not for private drawing rooms. It was in expensive, accessible to the general public, and it found a home in poor familiesas well as in more affluent circles.”
This section will look at Mucha’s decorative panels, exploring his ideas behind these works and studying the characteristics of his design formula. The exhibits will also include Mucha’s seminal design handbooks, Documents Décoratifs (1902) and Figures Décoratives (1905).
Beauty – The Power Of Inspiration - Mucha returned to his homeland in 1910 in order to fulfill his dream of working for his country’s political freedom, which culminated in his masterpiece, The Slav Epic (1912-1926) and other works intended to inspire the spiritual unity of Slavic peoples.
This final section will show examples of Mucha’s late works, exploring how ‘le style Mucha’ developed into the art of message making. The exhibits here will include studies for the decoration of the newly built Municipal House in Prague, as well as the poster for the Slav Epic exhibition held in Prague and Brno, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia.
Palazzo Pallavicini is an elegant eighteenth-century dwelling, originally from the 15th century, in the heart of ancient Bologna. Inhabited in the past by great noble families, in 1770 it welcomed the performance of the then fourteen-year-old child prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Today the Palace is home to museum exhibitions and events.