Mucha Manga Mystery

Alphonse Mucha's Pioneering Graphic Art


Ornamental theater posters or alluring product advertising with sensuous female figures – the unmistakable signature of Czech designer Alphonse Mucha brings us back to Paris of the Belle Époque. Women such as, for example, the divine actress Sarah Bernhardt, in flowing robes with waving manes of hair, form the center of Mucha’s graphic work, to which this exhibition devotes its attention. Wreathed by snaking tendrils and opulent blossoms, the figures are objects of desire that symbolize urban pleasures and the greater purchasing power that began to emerge around 1900. Spurred by the aura emanated by
these works, the Museum Bellerive undertakes a search for their traces in the graphic design of the following generations – and discovers Mucha’s artistic idiom in psychedelic concert posters from the American West Coast as well as in European commercial graphic art from the Sixties. Finally, contemporary manga artists in Japan reveal surprisingly strong connections to Mucha’s stylistic vocabulary.

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