Mucha is most often remembered for the dominant role he played in shaping the aesthetic of French Art Nouveau at the turn of the 20th century.
Born in 1860, in what is now the Czech Republic, he had high aspirations to become a serious artist, which led him to pursue his studies in Prague and Munich. In 1887 he was lured to Paris, where he found it necessary to take on various minor commissions, including book and magazine illustration work. He achieved immediate fame in December 1894 when he accepted a commission from Sarah Bernhardt, the greatest actress of the time, to create a promotional graphic for the play Gismonda.
Mucha’s art captivated the hearts and imaginations of the public with its beautiful, sensuous forms and exquisite definition of detail. He achieved an elegant style with his fluid design and perfectly balanced blend of natural and abstract decorative patterns. Mucha’s prolific output of posters, graphics, calendars, illustrations and decorative panel designs was concurrent with the general trend toward creating art for mass consumption and utilizing art for decoration. Through his extraordinary versatility in adapting to various forms and media, he exerted a profound influence on the Art Nouveau style.