The Europe that was Lost – Thoughts on Central and Eastern European Modernism
9. Back in Prague. Alfons Mucha, Franz Kafka, Franz Werfel, Bohemian Nationalism, and Czech Turn of the Century
345 9. Back in Prague Alfons Mucha, Franz Kafka, Franz Werfel, Bohemian Nationalism, and Czech Turn of the Century One of those sitting at the Crémerie Madame Charlotte in Paris at the beginning of the 1890s together with Stanisław Wyspiański, Zenon Przesmycki, Władysław Ślewiński, Stanisław Przybyszewski, and Józef Mehoffer besides numerous French, Belgian, Netherlandish, Russian, Italian, German, and Scandinavian artists and writers willingly letting himself be attracted by the decadent fin-de- siècle atmosphere in Paris with all the implications of syntheticism, occultism, esoterism and exotic mysticism was the thirty years old Alfons Mucha.950 Unam- biguously he was one of the most internationally bent and on the international Modernist art scene most praised artists of all the Central and Eastern European artists traveling to the French capital, coming originally from pretty modest cir- cumstances in the Habsburg empire. The fact that only a few decades later he would be celebrated as the national hero of the young Czech republic, the one who was given the honor of designing the first own stamps and banknotes of the the re- public, the national seal and the country s´ police uniforms, well, this he must have been totally unable to imagine even at the French restaurant, despite the flow of both absinthe and dreams about future grand achievements by wich the gathered artists compensated the poverty in their small attic studios and the everyday hard work at the academies in the neighborhoods. No life story...
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