Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau/Nouvelle Femme

June 20–October 6, 2019
Sarah Bernhardt and Mucha posing in ceiling to floor photos inlaid on gallery walls.

Alphonse Mucha, born in Moravia, came to Paris in 1887. Over the next 8 years, he emerged from obscurity to become the most celebrated graphic designer of the Art Nouveau movement. His intricate designs and gorgeous subjects were so popular that he produced pattern books for fellow designers and students, and his publishers repurposed his advertisements for hundreds of other products.

“I predict you will be famous”

—Sarah Bernhardt

But his style and status all started when he met the legendary Sarah Bernhardt, the most famous actress of her day. Mucha’s first poster for her not only launched his graphic design career, but elevated her fame, as the public buzz for the image was completely unprecedented.

From that moment on, Mucha used alluring, strong women to advertise everything from cookies to bicycles, alcohol to rolling papers. These women were part of a budding 20th-Century world wherein they had newfound independence and social agency. Through them, Mucha changed the world of advertising and brought Art Nouveau to the streets.

This collection comes to Poster House through a generous loan from the Richard Fuxa Foundation, which houses the most complete collection of Alphonse Mucha and is one of the preeminent supporters of Czech heritage and art.


Selected Images

A poster of a face with long hair and an embroidered headpiece while the zodiac signs are behind them.
Zodiac, 1896
Alphonse Mucha
A poster of a figure sitting on a beach with a floral and colorful bird halo behind and around her.
Monaco Monte-Carlo, 1897
Alphonse Mucha
A poster of a figure with long blond hair and holding a cigarette with smoke in the background.
Job, 1896
Alphonse Mucha
A poster of a semi nude figure covering light from their head with their hand and holding a sheer fabric.
Étoile du Matin from The Stars series, 1902
Alphonse Mucha
A poster of a woman in a white dress talking to a man in a tuxedo as flowers overlay them.
Flirt, 1900
Alphonse Mucha
A poster of a female in white standing by a balcony with metallic snow falling behind her.
La Dame aux Camélias, 1896
Alphonse Mucha
A poster of a person with a floral crown and holding a bloody knife as person is on the floor.
Médée, 1898
Alphonse Mucha
A poster of a figure with orange updo hair that matches their dress as they lean on a bicycle.
Cycles Perfecta, 1902
Alphonse Mucha
A poster of a female sitting on a rock and leaning on a floral branch as they dip their feet in water.
Été , 1896
Alphonse Mucha
A poster of a woman in a green dress leaning on a statue beside flowers with a circular design behind.
L'Émeraude , 1900
Alphonse Mucha