Česká centra, Czech Centres

Česká centra / Czech centres - logo


May 31, 2018 7:00 PM - Jun 22, 2018

Alfons Mucha: Shaping The Czech Identity

The exhibit examines the role of the artist at times of political change, presenting examples of material created by Mucha for his country, culminating in his most significant work the Slav Epic.

Opening: Thursday May 31st 7PM

On view: May 31 - June 22, 2018  

The Gallery is open Monday - Sunday, 10AM - 6PM


The exhibition Alfons Mucha: Shaping the Czech Identity celebrates the centenary of the establishment of Czechoslovakia in 1918 by exploring Mucha´s contribution to the nation´s struggle for national identity and self-determination. The large-screen projection of his life´s work – Slav Epic, the first postage stamps and banknotes for the newly independent Czechoslovak state and his other output will be on display at Czech Center New York from May 31st to June 22nd, 2018.
The opening will take place on May 31st at 7PM in CCNY´s Gallery in Bohemian National Hall.

Through his work Alfons Mucha contributed greatly to creating the image of the First Republic. As a patriot and keen political thinker, he always regarded his art as a means to serve his homeland. His life story and work is, however, inherently associated with the United States of America and the patron Charles Charles Crane. Mucha painted The Slav Epic, a series of large-scale oil paintings summarizing Slav history, at Zbiroh Chateau for eighteen years. However, without the support of Charles Richard Crane, the work would probably never come to life. An American businessman and philanthropist met the painter in New York City and decided to fund Mucha's project. He also agreed that all twenty canvases will be dedicated to the City of Prague once they are finished. Mucha expressed his gratitude by incorporating his portrait of Josephine Crane Bradley, his patron´s daughter, as Slavia in his design for the first Czechoslovak 100 koruna banknote. 

It is the banknotes, postage stamps and original posters that Mucha created for the First Republic (to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Czechoslovakia and the poster for the insurance company Slavia) that you can see at the exhibition. Together with other twenty Mucha's works, the audience will approach the principle theme linking all Mucha's works - his concept of Czech identity. The Slav Epic, represented via slideshow installation, along with select writings from the Mucha Archive will lead to an understanding of the ultimate message of his work. 

The exhibition features two unique pieces:
1. Slavia - poster for Slavia Mutual Saving Bank, Prague (1907)
The design of this poster became a basis of the famous oil portrait of Josephine Crane Bradley - Charles Crane’s daughter. In comparison to Mucha’s other posters, this is less known in the US; certainly the poster was not featured in the major Mucha exhibition tour in the US (1998-2000).

2. The 10th Birthday of Czechoslovakia - original drawing (1928)
This drawing has never been shown in past exhibitions, so the Mucha exhibition at CCNY is the world’s première!  

The exhibition is also enriched by photographs which Mucha used as template for his paintings. "Gradually, my father developed a very regular working method. He first outlined any new work. Then - if he did not have a suitable photo - he took a photographic record according to the drawing. But he did not photograph models for a particular planned drawing. He improvised various variants in front of the camera and created a rich archive, "his son George described Mucha's creative process.

The program will also contain interactive presentation which will introduce the audience to the historical development of Czechoslovakia in 1918 and 1968. Emphasis will be given to Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, Edvard Beneš and Milan Rastislav Štefánik. The presentation will also describe the society, foreign relations, important Czech inventions, art scene and student movements, reforms, Prague Spring, 21August and its consequences, and exile and samizdat works.

The Alfons Mucha: Shaping the Czech Identity exhibition will be presented by the Czech Center New York in cooperation with The Mucha Foundation and the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the UN in New York.

Courtesy of Mucha Trust



Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street
NY 10021 New York
United States


From: May 31, 2018 7:00 PM
To: Jun 22, 2018


Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event

Remind me
This event has already started.