Maurice DENIS (1870-1943)

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Maurice Denis Pré aux chevaux Circa 1894-95 Oil on cardboard 25,3 x 25 cm SOLD
Maurice Denis
Pré aux chevaux
Circa 1894-95
Oil on cardboard, 25,3 x 25 cm

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Maurice Denis, « The nabis with beautiful icons »

Maurice Denis was born in Granville in 1870 and lived his entire life in Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

He was a co-disciple of Edouard Vuillard and Ker-Xavier Roussel at the Lycée Condorcet in Paris.

He was a friend of Ranson, Bonnard and Sérusier, with whom he founded the Nabis movement in 1889.

Influenced by Puvis de Chavannes and Odilon Redon “the nabis with beautiful icons” he was also inspired by the Italian primitives, Fra Angelico, Piero della Francesca and Raphael encountered on his trips to Italy (1895, 1898, 1907).

In 1890, he published his ‘Definition of neo-traditionalism’:

“Remember that a painting, before becoming a battle horse, a naked woman or any anecdote, is essentially a flat surface covered with colours in a certain assembled order. “

Maurice Denis illustrated books for Verlaine (edited by Vollard in 1911), Dante, Gide, Barrès and Claudel.

His art was based on his Christian faith and the exaltation of a family life lived with Martha (married in 1890), the mother of his children, his chosen model. At the same time in 1912 he published a theory on Modern Art, on Religious Art (1922) and in 1939 a History of Religious Art.