Last weekend, I finally got to the Alphonse Mucha Exhibition, ‘In Quest of Beauty’, at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. I’d almost forgotten about it and it ends mid-February. As many of you will know, I love art as well as music and literature, and it often inspires my writing, plus I’m always happy to visit one of my favourite venues in Glasgow.
Czech-born Mucha became famous in the latter part of the 19th century when he began designing advertising posters for the famous actress Sarah Bernhardt. The exhibition has a wonderful selection of Mucha’s art which inspired the beautiful Art Nouveau style of images and design.
After returning to Bohemia in 1910, he started creating his many paintings that made up his Slav Epic, some of which are on show. I was surprised to discover, however, that his work was hidden away during WWII and Mucha was largely forgotten until rediscovered in the early 1960s.
As well as the art work hanging on the various walls, a few glass fronted cabinets contained other items from the period, such as original perfume phials and a Houbigant perfume bottle from 1899. I was fascinated by this as I remember loving Houbigant Quelques Fleurs many, many moons ago, although I don’t remember the actual scent now!
Another cabinet held an original copy of Mucha’s Documents Décoratifs portfolio from 1902 which contains 72 plates of his decorative art, showcasing his varied design work. But it is his tall Art Nouveau images of beautiful women that draw the eye, such these four paintings that each depict a different flower: Rose, Iris, Carnation and Lily. They were seemingly inspired by the popular Victorian book, The Language of Flowers.
There was even a little fun boudoir-style area where visitors could don some of the clothes and jewellery and recline on the sofa. I thought it perhaps resembled the kind of dressing space Sarah Bernhardt once enjoyed. Unfortunately, my husband had gone off for a wander outside so I would have felt mighty silly dressing up with no one to photograph or laugh at me. Shame as I love dressing up when I get the chance!
All in all, it was a lovely start to our 2017 weekend outings as husband then took me into Glasgow for a delicious Chinese meal at one of our favourite restaurants. Hope the year continues as it began!