Sunday, 15 January 2017

Alphonse Mucha Exhibition

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!

Rosemary

16 comments:

Teresa Ashby said...

What a wonderful exhibition and a lovely start to the year. I love Mucha's work. I think you should go back so you can dress up!

Julia Thorley said...

How interesting. I must confess Mucha is new to me.

Maria said...

Sounds like a really good day out! I have not seen any work by Mucha before, but love going to exhibitions. I will look out for him now.

Wendy's Writing said...

I thought I didnt know Mucha but when I saw your photos I realised I'd seen his work somewhere before. Sounds a lovely day out, Rosemary.

Jean Bull said...

That was so interesting, Rosemary. I recognise the art work, but did not know the name of the artist. I also didn't know that Mucha's paintings inspired the beginning of Art Nouveau. Fabulous!

Nicola said...

Glad you had a lovely time. Thanks for sharing.

susanjanejones said...

Really lovely, glad you had a good time. I'm sure I used to have one of those on our bathroom wall. A copy obviously:)) A lady with a pitcher and Summer written on the bottom. I had it from a car boot for a pound.

MovieMan said...

It's a good exhibition and well worth a visit. I follow artists such as Frank Cho and although his subject are a bit more modern (and often racier), the hatching techniques very similar.
Plus the Kelvingrove Gallery is a great visit in it's own right

Suzanne Ross Jones said...

This is a lovely blog post, Rosemary. We saw this exhibition yesterday and thought it was fab. Pity we didn't go last weekend - it would have been lovely to have met you.

xx

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Glad you like Mucha's work, Teresa - and I'm tempted to go back and dress up!

I'd seen some of the images before, Julia, but hadn't known the artist!

I think the exhibition has been touring to a few places in the UK, Maria - hope you get to see it!

That was the same as me, Wendy - we often recognise a style but not the artist!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Jean - it was lovely to see his work so close up.

Thanks for commenting, Nicola!

I'd love even a copy of one of his paintings, Suzy!

Thanks for commenting, MovieMan - yes, Kelvingrove is a real inspiration at any time!

Glad you got to see it, Suzanne - that would have been brilliant to be there at the same time!

Rae Cowie said...

Ashamed to admit I'd never heard of Mucha, Rosemary but I definitely recognise his style. Hope you enjoy many such inspirational afternoons. : )

Joanna said...

What a wonderful exhibition, Rosemary. I love Mucha and when I went to university, I blue-tacked one of the posters, bought from a dark, musk-scented shop called 'But is it Art?', on the wall above my bed. It was one of the flower girls, but I don't recall which. It was so long and heavy that it regularly flopped off the wall and fell on my head during the night, but I always put it back up again the next morning and it's the first thing I remember when I look back at those long-ago days. xxx

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Don't worry, Rae - you're not alone in that! Kelvingrove is a very inspiring place.

Thanks for your lovely nostalgia comment, Joanna - love your story about the picture! Maybe it will inspire a short story? My favourite print (not a Mucha) when a teenager was a gorgeous white horse drinking from a pool at the bottom of a waterfall. Don't know what happened to it but I adored it.

Patsy said...

Looks to me as though your own quest for beauty was well rewarded.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

It was indeed, Patsy!