NCMA Recommends: Reverie
Robert Frederick Blum, Reverie, circa 1883–84, oil on canvas, 56 × 22 in., Gift of John Gellatly
Robert Frederick Blum’s painting Reverie, with its tall, thin format and emphasis on a lone female figure, emerged from the same visual language as the works of Alphonse Mucha at the end of the nineteenth century. Reverie is one of a set of four similar paintings, all done by American artists who began traveling frequently to and working in Europe just before Mucha’s language of art nouveau came to dominate. Two of this set, by Henry Siddons Mowbray and Thomas Wilmer Dewing, are included in the exhibition Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau Visionary (closing January 23), where they represent an American context for the style and subject matter so vital to Mucha’s success.
Blum’s images were once praised by the famous poet Oscar Wilde, who met Blum in New York. As one friend recounted later, Wilde told Blum that “your exquisite pastels give me the sensation of eating yellow satin.” Looking at Reverie, we can see how appealing the lush yellows of Blum’s work can be. —Michele Frederick, Associate Curator of European Art and Provenance Research
Wilde for the Exhibition Store
The Mucha Exhibition Store, offering decorative items, fashions, and books to continue your art nouveau experience, remains open until January 23. In partnership with McIntyre’s Books, the Store stocks novels focused on contemporaries of Alphonse Mucha, including Oscar Wilde, who believed the purpose of art is to guide life, as if beauty alone were its object.
Screen a documentary exploring the life of Alphonse Mucha from the perspective of his son, Jiří, that uses re-enactments, animations, archival footage, artwork, and photographs. Then join a virtual discussion on Saturday, January 15, with Mucha’s grandson, John Mucha, and the film’s producers, Jakub Pinkava and Ondřej Beránek.
Mucha: The Story of an Artist Who Created a Style (2020). Directed by Roman Vávra, 95 min., NR
Self-Portraits in “Le Style Mucha”
Get creative and inspired by NCMA art and artists at home. Each month, the Museum distributes an activity kit with materials plus written instructions for a complete hands-on project. Try this project from our December kit with art supplies you have on hand to create a self-portrait in the Mucha style.
More Mucha-Inspired Art
The NCMA commissioned three North Carolina–based artists to reinterpret Mucha’s iconic art nouveau works. The resulting images explore contemporary definitions of beauty and widened cultural representation. The commissions are by Tori “FNoRD” Carpenter, Alisha Locklear Monroe, and Lakeshia T. Reid. See their works on view in Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau Visionary.
And don’t miss your chance to experience more Mucha-inspired art in the Museum Park! Modern Mucha showcases works by college-student artists that reimagine beauty in the art nouveau style and incorporate more open notions of body positivity. The billboards were created by Ella Mackinson, Pratt Institute; Pinghui Ren, Fayetteville Technical Community College; and Kiersten Joyner, East Carolina University.