“Hiver”, lithograph made by Alphonse Mucha, printed in Paris around 1896 by F. Champenois. Signed in the print at the lower richt. Size: 42,5 x 14,5 cm.
Alphonse Mucha was born in Moravia (present-day Czech Republic) and is inextricably linked to Art Nouveau, initially called “le style Mucha”. Like no other he knew how to portray the Slavic soul with a slightly melancholic slant. Mucha left for Paris in 1887. The city became overwhelmed by his works and his posters were even stolen from the streets. The graceful lines, fresh pastel colours and sumptuous motifs in his illustrations of sensual women, became the icons of the fin de siècle.
Such design, soft colouring and astonishingly subtle drawing, had never been seen before. Mucha became the single most famous and influential artist of the whole Art Nouveau movement in Europe.
Between 1896 and 1902, Mucha achieved his greatest graphic productivity and his best work dates from this period, including this “Hiver” one of a series of four seasons.
The “Mucha girl” is central to many of his creations. She attracts us hypnotically with an untold yet irresistible vision, an unspoken promise – healthful, seductive, uplifting and erotically vulnerable. Her look is hazy, as if she just arose, portrayed at the moment of awakening, wavering between the viewer’s adoration and the vaguely remembered images of another world.