New ‘Mucha: The Family Collection’ exhibit unveils unseen art

The exhibit, in cooperation with the Czech Senate, is timed to coincide with the Czech presidency of the EU. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 15.07.2022 17:00:00 (updated on 15.07.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

The exhibition "Mucha: The Family Collection," taking a broad look at the career of Czech artist Alfons Mucha with previously unseen art and photographs, opened in the Wallenstein Riding School in Prague’s city center today and will run through the end of October.

The exhibition is organized jointly by the Mucha Foundation and the Czech Senate. It has works from the most important and transformative eras of Mucha’s life. The concept of the exhibition follows the one staged in the Musee du Luxemburg in Paris in 2018 and ’19.

The exhibition is timed to coincide with the six-month Czech presidency of the Council of the European Union, which started on July 1. The Czech Republic took over from France, a country that played a major role in Mucha’s career.

John Mucha, Alfons Mucha's relative and the head of the Mucha Foundation board, said all the displayed pieces are from the foundation’s collection. The exhibition is divided into six parts.

“Not that we wanted to be selfish, it is just that we have the world's largest collection of Mucha's work. It is a combination of lithography, oil paintings, jewelry, statues, and so on. The aim of the exhibition is to show his work,” John Mucha told the Czech News Agency (ČTK).

“The second part is specifically dedicated to the Slav Epic and the end focuses on Mucha's planned works – three small sketches of a gigantic triptych, ‘The Age of Reason,’ ‘The Age of Love,’ and ‘The Age of Wisdom.’ ‘Wisdom’ was what Mucha considered the most important," John Mucha added.

Tomoko Sato, the exhibition curator and one of the most recognized experts on Mucha’s work, said the exhibition is the largest one ever presented by the Mucha Foundation. “It shows not only the artist's versatility but also his philosophical view of the inspirational power of art,” he said.

The exhibition coincides with two other Mucha exhibitions currently in Prague. The Richard Fuxa Foundation, which owns a large collection of posters by Mucha, launched eMotion at the Prague Castle Riding School last month. It consists of high-resolution animated projections of posters and stained glass windows in a wrap-around three-dimensional space.

There is also iMucha at Obecní dům, which presents posters from the collection of tennis player Ivan Lendl with animated images on screens.

Alfons Mucha, born in Ivančice in Moravia in 1960, lived also in Paris and the United States. He is known for his Art Nouveau posters and designs, as well as the cycle of 20 monumental paintings known as the Slav Epic. He made posters of actress Sarah Bernhardt in Paris and designed costumes and stage decor for her. He also designed paper money and postage stamps in the 1920s for the newly independent Czechoslovakia and made a window for St. Vitus’ Cathedral in Prague Castle.

He was arrested in 1939 at the start of the Nazi occupation of Bohemia and Moravia due to his pro-Slavic art and support of Slavic culture and ideals, as well as his involvement with Freemasonry. He died on July 14, 1939, of pneumonia, a few days after he was released.

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