Tuesday, July 27, 2010

#373 Czech Republic...Thanks Robert!

The Z stamp was issued in 2010 commemorating 150 years of the birth of Alfons Mucha (1860-1939),who was a Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist,best known for his distinct style and his images of women.

Alfons Mucha was born in Ivančice in the family of the court usher Ondřej Mucha. After education at the Slav High School in the Moravian capital Brno, partially financed from his income as church singer in the Brno-Petrov church boy choir, and a failure to join the Prague Academy of Fine Arts, he was shortly employed as a court clerk in Ivančice. In 1879 Mucha moved to Vienna to work for the leading Viennese theatrical design company Kautsky-Brioschi-Burghardt, mainly painting theatrical scenery. He was also the author of interior decorations in the chateau Emmahof by Hrušovany nad Jevišovkou. In 1885 Mucha moved to Munich, and two years later to Paris. 1897 was the turning point in his career as an artist. He was asked to create a poster for the actress Sarah Bernhardt. She later made a deal with Mucha for several other posters both for her and for the Théâtre de la Renaissance in Paris. Even though he was much loved and celebrated in the United States Mucha remained a great patriot. He spent 17 years working on what he considered his life's fine art masterpiece, The Slav Epic, a series of twenty huge paintings celebrating Slavic history. When Czechoslovakia became independent after World War I, Mucha designed the first Czechoslovak stamps and banknotes. Mucha was an artist of many talents, producing a flurry of paintings, posters, advertisements, and book illustrations, as well as designs for jewellery, carpets, wallpaper, labels for bottles, chocolates, cigarettes, restaurant menus, and theatre sets in what became known as Art Nouveau. He died in Prague in 1939 of pneumonia after an interrogation by the Gestapo, and was interred there in the Vyšehrad cemetery.

The stamp shows his poster Zodiac.

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