Mucha – King of Art Nouveau

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One summer at the age of 16, I fell in love with the delicate lines and romanticism of Alphonse Mucha’s works. It was the summer I volunteered at the National Palace Museum and this was their temporary exhibition.

Imagine my contentment when I saw the first few posters for the Mucha expo at Musée du Luxembourg popping up all over Paris! Imagine my excitement when I was offered the tickets!

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Alphonse Mucha was a Czech painter and lived in Paris during the Art Nouveau era. He rose to fame with his first ever poster of Sarah Bernhardt (a famous Parisian actress/comedian) and later became known as “the greatest decorative artist in the world”. From posters, he extended his talents to designing covers of menus, biscuit boxes, even jewellery and the interior of a jewellery shop!

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In 1894, Mucha would meet the Swedish author August Swindberg who was deeply interested in the occult and mysticism. This led Mucha to join the Freemasons which advocated “the improvement of humanity”. He would then give up his signature style, the Mucha style, to create art driven by a social and philosophical vision of unity.

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Sadly, the Mucha style is my personal favourite. I much prefer the gaiety of the colours and figures in his posters to the sombre depictions of suffering shown in his later works. It is also the Mucha style that drove him to fame and fortune. All the same, I do admire the man for believing in something more than the superficiality of mankind.

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Unfortunately, as a well-known figure and a Freemason, Mucha was one of the first to be arrested by the Gestapo during World War II and died 10 days after his 79th birthday…

Regardless, the beauty and grace of Mucha’s art lives on and is much appreciated by fans such as myself.

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Angelina Café next to Musée du Luxembourg
melted cake
Cake designed for the Mucha expo – sadly, it didn’t last under the heat!

For more information on the exhibition at Musée du Luxembourg, feel free to visit their website. However, I have included some useful information below.

Dates: 12 September 2018 – 27 January 2019

Opening times: Everyday from 10:30 – 19:00 (until 22:00 every Friday)
The museum will also be open for extra night shifts every Monday from the 12th of November until the 17th of December.
The museum will be open ’til 18:00 on the 24th and 31st of December and will be closed on Christmas (25th December).

Tickets: 13 euros full price

 

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Christian Dior Exhibition, Paris

I’d known about this exhibition since I came to Paris for vacation back in July but just never had the chance to do it until four months later! Crazy to think that so much has occurred in this short space of time…I moved to a new country, found myself a new job, a new apartment and cut ties with people who were just bringing in negative energy…So finally, I had some time to take a turn in the Museum of Decorative Arts!

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It was a Wednesday afternoon, roughly an hour before closing so there was no line. The staff recommend a minimum of two hours to fully enjoy the exhibition but I’d say an hour is sufficient; 1.5-2 hours if you really want to linger on the details with a friend. I paid only 8 euros for my ticket as I am under 26. Full price is 11 euros but you save 90 cents if you purchase online. If you are lazy, like I am, I wouldn’t bother. However, they sometimes do let people with tickets in first.

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All I can say is that it is pure magic. From the first step you take into this exhibition, you are swept away into this world of dreams. You are under the spell of Dior and it reminded me why I wanted to work in the luxury industry in the first place. The core of it all was never the status or the money; it was always about the passion that they put into their art and the freedom of self-expression. The byproduct of an educated society climbing to the top of Maslow’s pyramid towards self-actualization.

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The flow of the exhibition itself was smooth and logical. We started at the beginning, as we always do, with the man himself. Christian Dior’s life story, the difficulties he had suffered, how he got into fashion illustration, how the maison came to be, the success he experienced, his sudden death and his successors who followed. As I have always been fascinated with the occult and the supernatural, one thing really stood out to me and that was a prediction a palm reader had made for Christian Dior.

“You will be penniless, but women will be good to you, and it is thanks to them that you will succeed.”

Women still are good to Christian Dior today, purchasing iconic Lady Dior handbags and Miss Dior perfumes.

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Personally, Dior will always be a part of that ’50s glamour when women were sexy without trying too hard or showing too much. What also makes Dior so distinguishable, for me, is that waistline. Whether it be a dress, a suit or even a coat, Dior always found a way to show off and accentuate the curves of the feminine figure.

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For anyone who wants to go to the exhibition, do not consider the photos to be spoilers. It is worth the visit!