In 2023, the Mucha Foundation presents a new series of exhibitions "The Mucha Trail". Under the title Alfons Mucha: Floral Worlds, we focus on Mucha's iconic works featuring flowers, a key characteristic of Mucha's graphic style.The exhibitions can be seen in four venues: Ivančice, Hrušovany nad Jevišovkou, Moravský Krumlov in South Moravia, and now for the first time outside the Czech Republic, in Piešt'any, Slovakia. These places are especially connected to the life and art of Alfons Mucha.
The Art Nouveau movement - the pursuit of "new art" - spread throughout Europe in the late 19th century as a reaction to conventional decorative orders and academic art, as well as to the social problems caused by rapid urbanization and over-industrialization. Many artists and designers looked to nature for inspiration; flowers and the intricate forms of plants and trees became the hallmarks of Art Nouveau. The influence of this movement was strongly manifested at the Paris World Exhibition of 1900 and also at the International Exhibition in Turin in 1902, where the style was also called the floral style (stile floreale), with many floral motifs in the architectural and design works presented at the exhibition.
Mucha, a poster maker in fin-de-siècle Paris, created an innovative graphic style that became known as "le style Mucha". It was a compositional formula in which a graceful woman stands out, harmoniously arranged with flowers and other natural motifs, often placed in an architectural frame. Primarily refined for advertising posters, Mucha's style evolved as a visual language for communicating with the wider public. Mucha later wrote: "External form is language [...] Composition is speech". In Mucha's composition, then, the woman is the bearer of the artist's message, while flowers and other natural motifs are meant to be "words" to be read by the audience. Exhibitions focusing on Mucha's use of floral motifs explore Mucha's floral worlds and their messages.
To illustrate the context of the use of floral motifs in the Art Nouveau style, all exhibitions within the Mucha Trail are accompanied by photographs of the facades of Art Nouveau buildings in Moravia and Slovakia by Professor Peter Schubert (born 1949, Vienna), a full member of the Wiener Künstlerhaus. Professor Schubert creates an "artistic document" through photographs of the facades of Art Nouveau buildings. The irregular edges of the images represent details "torn out of the facades" and correspond to photographic practice around 1900.
In Piešt'any, the exhibition is enriched by a special section devoted to Mucha's connection to this internationally famous spa town in the early 1930s. The curator of the exhibition, Dr. Vladimír Krupa, presented a selection of rare archival documents and photographs of Mucha and his family, as well as a reproduction of Mucha's painting Be Hailed, Blessed Well of Health (1932), the only large oil painting on a Slovak subject that Alfons Mucha created during his family's stay in Nice. The painting was a thank you to the Piešt'any Spa for the recovery of his daughter Jaroslava.
The curator of the exhibitions is Tomoko Sato, the author of all major exhibitions and projects of the Mucha Foundation over the last 30 years, not only in the Czech Republic but also worldwide.
The Mucha Foundation is very happy that, along with its partners in the Mucha Trail project, it can present the story of a little boy from Ivančice who influenced the world history of art. The story of a boy from Moravia, but also a European and a world citizen.
The Mucha Trail project was initiated by the Mucha Foundation and was formally confirmed by a Memorandum of Cooperation for the presentation of the legacy and work of Alfons Mucha and connects places significantly associated with the life of the artist.