I have always been a fan of anything Art Nouveau, and in particular of Alphonse Mucha. But this week I found a book that is jam packed with illustrations and information about the artist's life. I have to admit it's not especially well written, but it is in-depth. And there's art on EVERY PAGE!!! Whoo hoo!
One of the things I particularly like about Mucha (and several other artists) is the ability to convey great expression and depth to their subjects without fussiness. By that I mean that the lines which make up a figure or object will be clean and simple, kept to a minimum. And yet the artworks are all very complex, with much background, lots to look at. Much of his work was done as commercial art: theater posters, advertisements, etc. His ambition to be a "real" artist was hampered by his wild success as a decorative artist, which really underscores how silly the differentiation is.
Interestingly enough, as soon as I opened the book I found 3 various poster illustrations he had done in which the background is a mosaic. Maybe that's why I like him so much! Anyway - have a look at a nice collection online of Mucha's work:
If you are interested in picking up the book, it is Alphose Mucha Masterworks by Rosalind Ormiston.