Serusier, Paul (1863-1927) by Scholes, Robert

Paul Serusier (1863 – 1927) He was born in Paris to a family doing well in the perfume business. He began his studies at l’École Fénelon, where he was regarded as a brilliant student and atalented artist. In 1875 he entered the Lycée Condorcet, where he studied the classics, graduating in 1882 and 1883 with degrees in both Letters and Sciences. In 1885 he began studying design at l’Académie Julian, in the class of Jules Lefebvre, where he became friendly with , who admired both his intelligence and his joyous company. Together they visited museums, expositions, and galleries, finally discovering some paintings by , after which he spent some time in Pont-Aven in Brittany. There, staying in a pension with other young painters, he encountered , who gave him some advice about painting, telling him to use pure colors and to feel free to exaggerate his impressions to achieve coherence for his image. Under the eye of Gauguin he painted a little wood panel, , and brought it back to l’Académie Julian, where it provoked a lengthy controversy. Those who liked what he had done began to form a separate group, meeting frequently at a restaurant called L’Os à moelle. During their conversations there they decided to call themselves The Nabis (“prophet” in Hebrew). In 1889, when Gauguin and his friends organized a show at the Café Volpini, Sérusier told them “Je suis des vôtres”–“I am one of yours. Maurice Denis Cézanne Gauguin Le Talisman In the years after that he continued to work, both in Brittany and in Paris. In the city he worked for his friend Lugné-Poe, the founder of the Théâtre de l’Oeuvre, along with his fellow Nabis: , , Ranson, and Denis, staging symbolist spectacles, bringing painting and the theatre together. In Brittany, he continued to paint, gradually developing his own style and his finished theory of art. A Nabis to the end, he published his views in 1921, in a short book called . Vuillard Bonnard ABC de la peinture (The above material has been drawn from the very helpful biographical sketch by Agnès Delannoy, published on the website of France Culturel.)

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