I just wanted to post a quick message to observe the 150th birthday of the man who is certainly my favorite Art Nouveau painter and possibly one of my favorite artists in any movement. Alphonse Mucha. Wikipedia has a pretty thorough biography, so I won't go into historical detail. What I will say is that Mucha was arguably at the center of a movement which successfully combined commercial art and fine art for the first time in history. Some art historians criticize the movement as a "youth" trend or for "lowering" fine art to mere advertising design. I prefer to think the Nouveau movement elevated advertising design to the realm of fine art (and don't think fine art lost anything in the bargain).
Like Mike Myers, I tend to think art is art, either good or bad. But to draw an artificial line between "high art" and "low art" is both disingenuous and counterproductive.
Here's to you, Mr. Mucha. Your art continues to inspire many, and will always hang on my wall in some capacity.