Alphonse Maria Mucha is most often remembered for the dominant role he played in shaping the aesthetics of Jugendstil Art at the turn of the century (also known as French Art Nouveau). As a struggling and relatively unknown artist of Czech origin, Mucha achieved immediate fame when, in December 1894, he accepted a commission to create a poster to advertise the role of "Gismonda", played by the greatest stage actress of that time, Sarah Bernhardt. For the World's Fair in Paris in 1900 Mucha designed the Bosnia-Hercegovina Pavilion. He was also an accomplished sculptor. His adoration of women and feminine forms appropriately expressed the Victorian idealization of "womankind". His love of sinuous curves and flowing lines, and the ease with which he abstracted and stylized motifs from the natural world into curvilinear decorative forms earmarks his readily recognizable style. One of his most famous works is of Bernhardt in her stage role of "Camille", this well recognized piece is titled "La Dame Aux Camelias". Many of Mucha's poster ads for clients are very valuable collectors items, and most of them are copied and mass produced because his art is still popular today. I myself own several I bought in San Francisco back in the early 70s, including a copy of "La Dame Aux Camelias". When the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia, Mucha was influential enough to be one of the first people they arrested. He returned home after a Gestapo "questioning session" and died shortly thereafter on July 14, 1939.
"La Dame Aux Camelias"
"The Brunet" and "The Blonde"