This week, 23rd Street in New York City welcomes a new museum devoted solely to the art of posters. Poster House opens its doors with an exhibition dedicated to Alphonse Mucha, one of the most famous and recognizable poster artists of all time.

Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau/Nouvelle Femme centers around the work of the Czech artist who rose to prominence working in Paris in the 1890s. Mucha's incredible technical ability, coupled with his strong, elegant lines, result in beautiful points of entry into the genre of posters. While Mucha's designs are recognized worldwide, Art Nouveau/Nouvelle Femme is the first New York City show dedicated to Mucha since 1923 at the Brooklyn Museum. The Poster House presents a novel take, exploring his depiction of the bold new women of Belle Époque Paris and how it shaped the face of advertising. 

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Zodiac, 1896

The first section of the exhibit centers around Mucha's association with the actress Sarah Bernhardt, and how that relationship changed his approach to poster design. In turn, Bernhardt's commanding stage presence on the streets and expanded her public persona, while elevating Mucha's work to the most sought-after graphic designer in Paris, encouraging his work with the female form. The second section illustrates how this newfound fame gave Mucha the confidence to forge ahead with new forms of advertising.  Rather than merely depicting an object's utility, Mucha unleashed the power of sensuous women and fine art to lure consumers. In elevating the poster form, the marketing designs became objects of desire in their own right. 

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The last section concludes with the last phase of Mucha's career when he was commissioned to create allegorical illustrations of women for decorative use.  These panels took posters off the streets and into the home, where the art was democratized, and in effect, became a "household" item. Demand was so great that he broke his contract and headed to America.

In addition to the Mucha exhibit, Poster House also presents The Wall: Cyan in the 1990s as well as interactive experiences for visitors, an educational section and immersive poster-inspired photobooth. Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau/Nouvelle Femme and Designing Through The Wall: Cyan in the 1990s will be on view from June 20th to October 6, 2019. Check out Poster House's launch video below!

Poster House Launch from Poster House NYC on Vimeo.