Painter, printmaker, and designer Maurice Denis
(French, 1870–1943) was born in Normandy, and attended the Lycée Condorcet in Paris. Later, he studied concurrently at the École des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Julian. As Denis did not support the style of Naturalism promoted by his instructors, he and fellow artists, including Paul Sérusier
, Pierre Bonnard
, and Paul Elie Ranson
, formed Les Nabis, a group and movement devoted to a style of Symbolism, partly inspired by Paul Gauguin
and Émile Bernard
Denis and his colleagues applied paint in flat planes, and used radical, unnatural colors. His career in painting was productive; Denis exhibited many works with other Symbolist and Neo-Impressionist artists during the 1890s. One of his notable works from this period is Springtime
(1897), which is part of the permanent collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. During the 20th century, Denis displayed his works on a regular basis at both the Salon de la Société Nationale and the Salon des Indépendents. In 1914, he purchased and began the restoration of a 17th-century priory in Saint-Germain-en-Laye in Paris. In 1980, the priory was instituted as a museum, featuring the works of Denis and Les Nabis, called the Musée Départemental du Prieuré. Denis’s works have been exhibited at the Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal and the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, England, among other institutions.