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Alfons Maria Mucha is born

Today in Masonic History Alfons Maria Mucha is born in 1860.

Alfons Maria Mucha was a Czechoslovakian artist.

Mucha was born on July 24th, 1860 in Ivančice, Moravia, which is now part of the Czech Republic. At the time it was it's own nation. At the age of 11 he became a chorister in Brno the capital of Moravia. There he studied for four years. Although his singing voice kept in Brno and kept his education moving forward from a young age, Mucha was always drawing. He worked doing decorative painting jobs in Brno and other parts of Moravia.

In 1879, Mucha relocated to Vienna to work for a major theatrical design company. This also helped to augment his artistic education. Two years later a fire destroyed his employers business and he returned to Moravia. There Count Karl Khuen of Mikulov hired Mucha to decorate Hrušovany Emmahof Castle. The Count was so impressed with Mucha's work, he agreed to sponsor Mucha's formal training at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts.

In 1887, Mucha moved to Paris where he continued his studies. He also worked producing magazine and advertising illustrations. Around Christmas of 1894 a chance encounter at a print shop led Mucha to make a poster for the most popular actress in Paris at the time. The actress was so taken with the poster he created, she signed a 6 year contract with Muchs to design all of her posters. This led to even more for Mucha and he soon became very popular with his unique style which was initially called the Mucha Style and later was name Art Nouveau.

From 1906 to 1910, Mucha lived in the United States with his wife. Their first child was born in New York City. Mucha hoped to earn enough money to return to Moravia and begin some of his nationalistic projects. At the time Mucha was viewed as someone who had "sold out" and he hoped to change the view people had of him back home. When the family left New York they settled in Prague where Mucha began working on decorating the Theatre of Fine Arts. When Czechoslovakia won it's independence after World War I, Mucha also designed new postage stamps, banknotes and other government documents.

In the 1930's Mucha was denounced in the press as 'reactionary'. This was a result of the rising tide of fascism and his works in Slavic nationalism. When German troops invaded in 1939, Mucha was one of the first people arrested by the Gestapo. While he was being interrogated he developed pneumonia. He was eventually released, it is believed the pneumonia weakened him, leading to his passing on July 14th, 1939.

Mucha is believed to have been initiated in Paris in 1898. In Czechoslovakia he is known as the restorer of Czech Freemasonry. In 1923 he was elected as the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Czechoslovakia.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.