Maurice Denis

(French, 1870–1943)

chevalier d'honneur by maurice denis

Maurice Denis


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Born at Granville on the Channel coast, Maurice Denis was brought up at Saint-Germain-en-Laye where he lived throughout his life. He was educated at the Lycée Condorcet between 1882 and 1887 where fellow pupils included Edouard Vuillard and Ker-Xavier Roussel. Denis entered the Académie Julian in 1888, where he met Paul Sérusier and Pierre Bonnard. Together they formed the symbolist group known as the Nabis (Prophets) and looked to Paul Gauguin to lead the movement. Denis's work was greatly influenced by Gauguin and he owned three of his paintings, two still-lives of 1886 and 1888 and Self-Portrait with Yellow Christ of 1889. At the age of twenty, Denis wrote his famous article:
Définition du Néo-Traditionnisme, Art et Critique, August 1890 which assured his place as one of the most influential critics of the twentieth century. His famous dictum is a microcosm of modernist thought: It is well to remember that a picture before being a battle horse, a nude woman, or some anecdote - is essentially a plain surface covered with colors assembled in a certain order. For the next twenty years, Denis's interpretive criticism played a crucial role in defining the new art. He later published his writings on art in Théories and Nouvelles Théories
Albi (Musée Toulouse-Lautrec)
Autun (Musée Rolin)
Bayonne (Musée Bonnat)
Digione (Musée des Beaux-Arts)
Nantes (Musée des Beaux-Arts)
Parigi (Bibliothèque Nationale, Musée d’Art Moderne, Musée d’Orsay, Musée des Arts Décoratifs)
Quimper (Musée des Beaux-Arts)


THE FLOWERS OF EVIL STILL BLOOM - Cueto Project, New York City, NY
Traces du Sacré - Centre Pompidou - Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris
Landesausstellung 2007: Maurice Denis, Maestro del Simbolismo internazionale - MART- Museo d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Rovereto (solo)
Maurice Denis - MART- Museo d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Rovereto (solo)
La photographie au Musée d'Orsay - 20 ans d'acquisitions - 1986-2006 - Musée d´Orsay, Paris
Maurice Denis - Earthly Paradise - The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts - Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Montreal, QC (solo)
Schilders van de Ziel. Symbolisme in Frankrijk - Singer Laren, Laren
Paris 1900 - Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, OK
Der Symbolismus und die Kunst der Gegenwart - Von der Heydt Museum, Wuppertal
Maurice Denis - Musée d´Orsay, Paris (solo)


Societé Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Catalogue officiel illustré, Salon 1932
Maurice Denis, Orangerie des Tuileries, Parigi, Réunion des Musée Nationaux, 1970
B. Thomson, The Post-Impressionists, Oxford, Phaidon, 1983
Maurice Denis et la Bretagne, Maurice Denis à Perros-Guirec, Musée Municipal de Morlaix, Ville de Perros-Guirec, 1985
A.A.V.V., Pointillisme, sur les traces de Seurat, Losanna, Fondations de l’Hermitage, 1997
A. Berès, Maurice Denis, 1870-1943, Huguette Berès, 1992
J.P. Bouillon, Maurice Denis, Ginevra, Skira, 1993
Da Renoir a Picasso, un secolo d’arte al Petit Palais di Ginevra, a cura di Paola Gribaudo, Milano, Electa, 2001
Da Caillebotte a Picasso, I capolavori della collezione Oscar Ghez dal Museo del Petit Palais di Ginevra a cura di L. Caramel, N. Sainte Fare Garnot, G. Gentry, Milano, Mazzotta, 2003