I’ll be reviewing the book
“Drawings of Mucha: 70 works by Alphone Maria Mucha, including 9 in full color” from Dover Publications. It’s a bit tricky to review a book containing mostly art..especially when the book title gives it away. Either you like the drawings, or you don’t and that’s that. You can’t really argue with the drawings the same way you can argue with text but here goes…
Just to preface, I own a couple of other books that feature Mucha’s artwork, but I jumped on getting this book because it has something which the other books have very little off: the preliminary drawings. I’m a big fan of Mucha’s art, as are A LOT of other people. What I like the most about his artwork is the line quality: curvy with different line weights.
Anyway, when I buy artist’s sketchbooks and drawings, it’s to try and decipher their process in making pictures. Looking at the collection of drawings in this book it’s hard to tell the steps involved. There are some drawings (very few) that have scribbly lines, and others that are very clean. I don’t know whether the construction lines were erased, or maybe he traced over a scribbly drawing to get these very tight drawings. The captions accompanying the drawings doesn’t really help in setting that sort of distinction, but I guess that’s to be expected.
The book not only contains pencil drawings, but also some preliminary paintings and prints. It also has a good variety. You won’t see Mucha’s famous posters in here, but some equally pretty lesser known works. And although the bulk of the book depicts women, it actually has a couple of drawings of men (at one point I wondered if Mucha drew men at all, and in fact he does, just not often).
The quality of the reproduction is average. The drawings mostly look gray, however since the drawings are old, it may not be wise to expect high contrast between line and paper. Anyway, even with the gray-ish backgrounds, you can still see the drawings, so it’s not a big problem. There are 9 pages that show artwork in color, but there is some artwork which should be in color but aren’t printed that way. Some of those works look a bit more muddier than the line drawing reproduction, but thankfully there’s very few of those in the whole book.
So in conclusion: if you’re a fan of Mucha, this is a very good book to get, especially for the price. Highly recommend.