The New York Daily News Alphonse Mucha Buy Art Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

Alphonse Mucha was an exceptionally gifted artist who could apply his talents to a wide range of artistic disciplines. In this example he completed some designs for a 1904 publication of the New York Daily News.

In the two pages featured here, we can immediately pinpoint the work that he would have supplied. Mucha spent time in the US as a way of promoting his career and also in the hope of getting financial backing for a large project that became known as the Slav Epic. To be able to provide a cover illustration for this New York newspaper would have been an excellent opportunity for Alphonse to continue to spread his reputation further afield. He appears to have produced one main artwork for the cover and then a series of smaller pictures for the content page, alongside some textual information about the artist himself. The printed press was hugely influential during the late 19th and early 20th century, much more than it is today, for the simple reason that there were not really any competing forces at that time. Modern technology has brought about television and the world wide web which have themselves weakened its power, though it still remains an important avenue of news for many.

Illustration lay at the base of most of the artist's work and he would use it for several different types of commissions over the course of his career. There were a number of menu designs, for example, as well as some stunning portraits drawings that were then used for stained glass windows which was a popular and lucrative industry within some parts of early 20th century Europe. Some liked to return to more traditional techniques as a resistance to the industrialisation of the western world, and a number of different art movements encouraged this at the time. The Art Nouveau movement as a whole took in a number of different European nations who were loosely related in the styles of their work, with Mucha became an important figure within that. Mucha himself did vary his work in terms of content, though, and produced a large number of history paintings, as the genre is known, in the earlier part of his career.

Within the main cover design for this commission Mucha features two females besides each other, with a plethora of other detail filling this intensive piece throughout. There are several blue circles in the top region that have ornate patterned designs and then there is more use of colour throughout the rest of the background in something that might remind us of the work of William Morris, a famous British designer. The female on the left takes our focus first as her red outfit makes a greater impact. She looks directly at the viewer whilst posing in a white dress with red lace hanging down. The other lady is in light blue, a tone which cannot clash with the bright red as worn by her friend. They both have accessories in their hair and the overall theme is feminine elegance, just as found throughout the rest of this artist's career.