Alphonse Mucha (pronounced Mooka) remains one of my favorite artists of all time. I have gotten yelled at by art teachers for defending the integrity of his artwork, because I believe, unlike many artists, that art does not have to be "challenging" to the viewer to be valuable. Sometimes simple aesthetic beauty is enough! Mucha was an Art Nouveau painter born in Czechoslovakia in 1860, and over his life time he produced hundreds of recognizable images that are still reproduced today, however most people are unaware of his name. His works have been made into posters, advertisements, biscuit tins and stained glass windows. Critics of his art accuse him of "selling out" because he accepted commissioned projects from companies and actors (notably, Sarah Bernhardt was one of his clients and a frequent subject of his paintings), but I don't think that this kind of business acumen should be condemned . I think the ability to make money doing what you love is a great achievement! If you ever get the chance to go to Prague, I have heard the Mucha Museum there is incredible! In the meantime check out these gorgeous, whimsical pieces of art.
Aren't the details fabulous? My favorite thing about Mucha's designs are his beautiful freehand borders. :)