Alphonse Mucha Poster Analysis

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title or description: Poster for 'Monaco - Monte Carlo ', P.L.M. railway services

designer: Alphonse Mucha

client: P.L.M. railway services

year: 1897

size: 110.5 x 76.5 cm

medium: poster

technique: colour lithograph

sources of information:...

sources of images:...

1. The poster was created in Paris in 1897. There were two factors that were key for the time, and that conditioned the flourishing art of poster printing.
One of them was the rapid development of the middle class, that had not only the means to consume but was also growing more sophisticated and cultured, meaning that what it consumed had to correspond.
The other was the technique that allowed to meet the demand: lithography. It allowed for vibrant and visually
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2. Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) was born in Moravia (now the Czech Republic). He receiver professional training in Munich and Paris. Mucha became famous after creating a poster for Sarah Bernhardt, a famous actress of that time. It established him in Paris, where his career developed before he moved to America and than back to the Czech Republic.

His work is highly recognisable as it has a truly unique style sometimes referred to as “le Mucha” (p. 33). Despite the artist himself denying that, it belonged to the broader movement of Art Nouveau prevalent in Europe at the end of the 19th century. His inspiration and ideals corresponded to the moods at the time and the idea that art should be part of every day life, and that through art life could become better and higher ideals could be achieved. Mucha believed that through appreciation of beauty, one could achieve “intellectual and moral harmony” (p.32).

Mucha embraced that idea and realised it by working in many different formats and producing a great number of works that indeed entered every day life, ranging from calendars and decorative panels to advertising posters and
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A technique that he became the master of and that allowed him to be so prolific was lithography that was highly popular at that time. He worked with line and colour, achieving impressive results. Mucha believed in flat surfaces and geometrical shapes (something that makes the art of posters different from fine art). The use of flat colours and strong lines was influenced by japonism – European art imitating Japanese woodcuts, especially their lack of perspective and bold outlines.

3. The Compagnie des chemins de fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée was a French railway company.

Throughout its existence, the company commissioned a few artists to create posters advertising its services. Mucha’s poster stands out compared to other examples (as described further).
Chemins de fer Paris-Lyon-Méditerranée. Rome, par la voie du Mont-Cenis (ca 1920) par Geo Dorival

Chamonix to Martigny via the gorges of Trient
Poster painted by Roger Broders (1883-1953)
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