Saturday, January 30, 2010

Alphonse Mucha and the Disney Princess Nouveau Collection

Alphonse Mucha (1860–1939) was the Czechoslovakian artist who pioneered the ornate stained glass style of Art Nouveau. He moved to Paris in 1887 and lived as a "starving artist" for the next seven years. Then in 1894, his fortunes changed.

Around Christmas 1894, Mucha happened to drop into a print shop where there was a sudden and unexpected demand for a new poster to advertise a play starring Sarah Bernhardt, the most famous actress in Paris, at the Théâtre de la Renaissance on the Boulevard Saint-Martin. Mucha volunteered to produce a lithographed poster within two weeks, and on 1 January 1895, the advertisement for the play Gismonda appeared on the streets of the city. It was an overnight sensation and announced the new artistic style and its creator to the citizens of Paris.

Bernhardt was so satisfied with the success of that first poster that she entered into a 6 years contract with Mucha. He produced a flurry of paintings, posters, advertisements, and book illustrations, as well as designs for jewellery, carpets, wallpaper, and theatre sets in what was initially called the Mucha Style but became known as Art Nouveau (French for 'new art').

In 2008, Disney released their short-lived, but extremely popular Disney Princess Nouveau Collection, including shirts, stained glass hangings, trinket boxes and journals. Each of the main princess characters were reproduced in a style after one of Mucha's famous paintings. Ed Irizarry conceived and sketched the designs for the princesses and Enrique Pita colored them.

The Snow White reproduction was patterned after Painting from The Arts Series, 1898.

A. Mucha, Painting, 1898

Irizarry and Pita's Snow White as seen in The Art of the Disney Princess book, p.47.


Artist quotes from The Art of the Disney Princess book.

Book pages copyright Disney.

B+W Snow White image adapted by Jess Park from original by Irizarry and Pita.

Some of the others included Mucha's Poetry of 1898 which became Aurora from 1959.

La Plume as La Cinderella.

Also view the upcoming posts featuring Snow White's Nouveau sun catcher, puzzle, and shirts.

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