Maurice Denis was a French painter and theorist and a member of the Symbolist and Les Nabis movements. His theories Contributed to the foundations of cubism, fauvism, and abstract art.
Maurice Denis was born in Granville, Manche, a coastal town in the Normandy region of France. Waters and coastlines would remain favorite subject matter Throughout His career, as would material drawn from the Bible. As a teenager, Denis wrote, "Yes, it's Necessary That I am a Christian painter, That I celebrate all the miracles of Christianity, I feel it's necessary."
The Denis family was affluent, and young Maurice Both attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Julian, where he Studied with the French figure painter and theorist Jules Joseph Lefebvre.
At the Académie, he met painters and future Nabi members including Paul Sérusier, Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard and Ker-Xavier Roussel. In 1890, they formed The Nabis using the Hebrew word for prophet, Because They believed they would be creating new forms of expression. The group would split apart by the end of the decade but would influence the later work of Both Bonnard and Vuillard, as well as non-Nabi painters like Henri Matisse.
Denis went on to focus on religious subjects and murals. In 1922, he published His collected historical and theoretical work as New Theories of Modern Art and Sacred. He wrote, "... Symbolism is the art of translating and inducing states of soul by means of relations of colors and forms. These relations, invented or borrowed from Nature, become signs or symbols of These states of soul: they have the power to suggest them ... The Symbol claims to give rise straightway in the soul of the spectator to the whole gamut of human emotions by means of the gamut of colors and forms, or let us say, of sensations, Which Corresponds to them. "
The subjects of His mature works include landscapes and figure studies, Particularly of mother and child. But His primary interest Remained the painting of religious subjects.
Denis was among the first artists to insist on the flatness of the picture plane-one of the great starting points for modernism, as Practiced in the visual arts. In 1890, he wrote, "Remember That a picture, before being a battle horse, a nude, an anecdote or whatnot, is essentially a flat surface covered with colors assembled in a certain order."
In 1898, he produced a theory of creation That found the source for art in the character of the painter: "That Which Creates a work of art is the power and the will of the artist."
Denis married His first wife, Marthe Meurier, in 1893. They had seven children, and she and the children would pose for Denis Numerous works. Following her death in 1919, Denis painted a chapel dedicated to her memory. Two years later, he married again, to Elisabeth Graterolle, blackberries and fathered two children. Denis died in Paris of injuries Resulting from an automobile accident in 1943.
1902c Maurice Denis (French artist, 1870-1943) Maternite, Anne-Marie and Marthe in the Oval Bague