Mucha, the influential artist of the Art Nouveau movement


During a short trip to Paris to see friends we attended the excellent Mucha Exhibit at the Grand Palais Immersif, a video presentation on a huge screen. Mucha was a principle in the Art Nouveau movement. See a bit of the show in the video below:

The Moravian born Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) is famous for his poster designs, especially those he did for the actress Sara Bernhardt. Perhaps his most famous poster is of Bernhardt, larger than life size at two meters in height. He also produced advertisements and decorative panels. His output was enormous, so enormous that he must have had a sizable number of assistants. He lived in Paris for these productive years.

He became famous after a 6-year contract with Sarah Bernhardt, who loved his work. He did her costumes, sets and advertising. He then did the Austria pavilion for one of the International Exhibitions in Paris. After becoming famous, he returned home, dedicating his work to the service of his homeland. He created the Slav Epic, shown in the last part of the presentation. For more see Mucha Foundation

Notre Dame

We also went to the excellent Notre Dame reconstruction exhibit at the TrocaderoWithin a short time following the April 15, 2018 fire, donors from 150 countries contributed an amazing €850 million, enough to finance the entire project. Artisans and skilled workers were recruited from all around France to first stabilize then restore the Cathedral. The many panels in the exhibit are excellent and expertly translated into English, yielding a detailed account of this immense and complicated project, with its many task groups: Acoustics, Wood and Framework, Monumental Decorations, Emotions and Mobilizations, Metal, Digital Data, Stone, Structures, and Glass. At the height of the restoration nearly 1000 people were working on the project. Cite Architecture et Patromonie.

The project uses original methods and materials. For example, in 2021 workers felled 800 trees using period axes to rebuild the roof and other structures. Workers used traditional methods to work the stone. Likewise with the 800 pipes of the organ, removed for restoration. It will take six months to reassemble it and six more to tune it. Tuning requires working at night as it is quieter. Sixteen spire statues and over 3,000 square meters of stained glass have already been cleaned and restored.

period axes
Notre Dame reconstruction project logs and period axes

The restoration as a whole is based on the mid 19th century restoration when the original spire, near collapse, was removed and the most recent and now destroyed spire was built. As restoration works began there was some controversy over this spire as it is decorated complex while the original was plain. However the Voillet-le-Duc version has become so associated with Notre Dame that his design was retained, making its ultimate appearance consistent with the 19th century restoration which serves as the basis for the entire effort.