Exhibition at the musée du Luxembourg, from 13 March
to 30 June 2019
The contribution of the Nabis to the decorative arts, although vital, is still not well known. The question of the decorative as a fundamental principle of the unity of creation was established when the group was formed
in the late 1880s by artists who wanted to break down the barrier between fi ne art and the applied arts.
True pioneers of modern decoration, Bonnard, Vuillard, Maurice Denis, Sérusier, Ranson and Vallotton defended an art form that was linked directly to life. They created original, joyous, rhythmic works intended to brighten up contemporary interiors, a reaction against the pastiche
aesthetic that was then in fashion.
The decorative art of the Nabis was not a response to any pre-existing aesthetic doctrine, but expresses the imaginative fantasy of the artists and the boldness of their research into form. This total art experience was based on the removal of barriers between techniques, and on the
influence of Japan.
Captivated by the Japanese prints discovered at an exhibition at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1890, the Nabis took inspiration from these flat images to interpret reality. By proscribing illusionist imitation and affirming the natural two-dimensionality of the support, they developed
an ornamental art with simplified forms, supple lines, and motifs without modeling, saturating the space. Their compositions are characterized by the use of bright colors, undulating lines, flat perspective and shapes with thick outlines to make them stand out better from the background.
The Nabis received many commissions for private decorations and for the Art Nouveau Gallery, some of which have been reconstructed for this exhibition.
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- Publication date
- 13 March 2019
27 × 31 cm
Paperback with cover flaps
Co-published with Musée d'Orsay and Musée de l'Orangerie.
- Paris - Réunion des musées nationaux- Grand Palais
- Art history, Painting
- Art movement
- Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940), Maurice Denis (1870-1943)