What Is Art Nouveau?
To depict Benedictine, an herbal liqueur, Alphonse Mucha depicts two women pressing flowers to remind us of the herbs that go into the making of the beverage. The bottom portion of the poster shows a panorama of the Fécamp Abbey in Normandy where the drink originated. It was around 1510 that a monk prepared the liqueur using local wine and native herbs found in the nearby woods. Named Benedictine, the recipe remained a secret with the monks for three centuries. Finally, in 1863, an enterprising Fecamp merchant obtained the formula and began to make the drink commercially. The liqueur is still sold today, and the bottles haven't changed their appearance
This poster serves as an example of color being used to create depth. In monochrome, the design would look crowded; but by coloring the women's clothes and skin in blue tones, Much makes a distinct contrast with the maroon and beige background.
Signature: Signed in stone by the artist, lower right hand side.
Alphonse Mucha is synonymous with Art Nouveau, a style of fine art, decorative art, and architecture that broke with the academicism of the 19th century in favor of florid lines inspired by the natural environment. A lithographed advertising poster he was commissioned to create for a play featuring the celebrated actress Sarah Bernhardt in 1894 catapulted him out of obscurity and brought him instant success as a commercial artist. Rendered in pale pastels, much of his work depicts beautiful young women draped in Neoclassical robes set amidst flowers, feathers, and other sensuous natural forms. He was celebrated not only for illustrating advertising posters, but also for painting, book illustrations, sculpting, and designing theater sets, jewelry, and wallpaper.
Czech, 1860-1939, Ivančice, Czech Republic, based in Paris, France