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Mucha, Alphonse: Cycles Perfecta, 1897. (Woman & Bicycle). Art Nouveau Postcard.

Mucha, Alphonse: Cycles Perfecta, 1897. (Woman & Bicycle). Art Nouveau Postcar

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Alphonse Maria Mucha, (1860 – 1939) was a Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist, best known for his images of women.

Mucha produced a flurry of paintings, posters, advertisements, and book illustrations, as well as designs for jewellery, carpets, wallpaper, and theatre sets in what was initially called the Mucha Style but became known as Art Nouveau (French for 'new art'). Mucha's works frequently featured beautiful healthy young women in flowing vaguely Neoclassical looking robes, often surrounded by lush flowers which sometimes formed haloes behind the women's heads. In contrast with contemporary poster makers he used paler pastel colors.

His Art Nouveau style was often imitated. However, this was a style that Mucha attempted to distance himself from throughout his life; he insisted always that, rather than adhering to any fashionable stylistic form, his paintings came purely from within and Czech art. He declared that art existed only to communicate a spiritual message, and nothing more; hence his frustration at the fame he gained through commercial art, when he wanted always to concentrate on more lofty projects that would ennoble art and his birthplace.

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