‘Never Destroy, Always Create’ – Alphonse Mucha’s Studio Photographs

I was happy to be involved in an art for the people and not for private drawing rooms. It was inexpensive, accessible to the general public, and it found a home in poor families as well as in more affluent circles.

Alphonse Maria Mucha

Seated Model Holding a Jug] by Alphonse Maria Mucha – 1927 – Buy Alphonse Mucha Prints

The purpose of my work was never to destroy but always to create, to construct bridges, because we must live in the hope that humankind will draw together and that the better we understand each other the easier this will become. – Alphonse Mucha

Alfons Maria Mucha (24 July 1860 – 14 July 1939) is usually known throughout the world as Alphonse Mucha. He  was a Czech-born artist, and proudly so, but he crucially lived in Paris during the Art Nouveau period. He is still known today for his beautiful decorative theatrical posters especially those which featured the actress Sarah Bernhardt. Indeed reproductions of which still adorn many a wall today.

Initially with a borrowed camera Mucha started to take photographs probably in Vienna around 1880. However it wasn’t until he gained some recognition in Paris and enough money that he bought his first camera. As the mere recognition became fame he moved to a much larger studio on the Rue du Val de Grace. With the bigger windows and much more light, he started photographing prolifically and almost every day.

After 1896 he began to photograph his models posing for his illustrations. His atmospheric studio would become an incredible back drop to these photographs. In the background of the photos we can see his not inconsiderable collection of objets d’art, artefacts, books and furniture. In Mucha’s Parisian heyday there was almost a queue of Parisian artists, writers and musicians. Not only that the Rue du Val de Grace studio became the place of one of the earliest cinematic projections of the famous Lumiere Brothers who he had met in 1895.

Female Model Holding Flowers] by Alphonse Maria Mucha – 1900

Model in a Long White Robe and a Hat with Ribbons, Paris by Alphonse Maria Mucha – 1899 – Buy Alphonse Mucha Prints

Nude Female Model as Ballerina, Paris Nude Female Model as Ballerina, Paris by Alphonse Maria Mucha – 1901 – Buy Alphonse Mucha Prints

Female Nude with a Spear, Paris by Alphonse Maria Mucha – 1899 – Buy Alphonse Mucha Prints


Female Model Posing for the Decorative Panel, ‘Emerald,’ Used in the early 1930s for Several Other Drawings and Paintings, Paris by Alphonse Maia Mucha – c.1900

Alfons Mucha. Emerald. From the series ‘Precious stones’ – Buy Alphonse Mucha Prints

Alphonse Mucha in Costume with Daughter Jaroslava as a Model for the Poster, ‘De Forest Phonofilm’ the first ‘talkie’ shown in the Bio Adria cinema (Prague), Zbiroh, Bohemia] – c.1927 – Buy Alphonse Mucha Prints

De Forest Phonofilm poster

Nude Female Model Draped with Fabric by Alphonse Maria Mucha – c.1900 – Buy Alphonse Mucha Prints

Female Model for the Allegory ‘September’ from the Cycle of the Twelve Months, for the Journal ‘Cocorico,’ Paris by Alphonse Maria Mucha – 1899 – Buy Alphonse Mucha Prints

Study of a Female Model Holding a Wreath, Rue du Val de Grâce] by Alphonse Maria Mucha – 1900

Alphonse Mucha in his studio, 1899

The Flashbak Shop sells reproductions and postcards of Aphonse Mucha’s incredible posters and photographs.

Thank you to the Mucha Foundation for much of the information in this post.


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