Denis, Maurice (1870-1943) by Scholes, Robert

Maurice Denis (1870 – 1943) He was born in Granville, France and entered l’Académie Julian at the age of eighteen, quickly moving on to l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where he studied with . In his work he combined the influences of and the fresco painters of the fourteenth and fifteenth century. With friends that he made in school, he helped to foundthe Nabis, becoming the chief theoretician of the group. In his 1890 Définition du néo-traditionalisme, he wrote “se rappeler qu’un tableau, avant d’être un cheval de bataille, une femme nue ou une quelconque anecdote, est essentiellement une surface plane recouverte de couleurs en un certain ordre assemblées” [“remember that a painting, before being a war horse or a nude woman, or ank kind of anecdote, is essentially a flat surface covered in colors arranged in a certain order”]. This is the note of modernism in the visual arts, firmly articulated in 1890. Gustave Moreau Cézanne

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