Denis, Maurice

1870 – 1943

Maurice Denis was a foremost member of Les Nabis, a group of young French artists who were instrumental in the transition from Impressionism to Modernism. An only child and a devout Christian, Denis studied art and philosophy at the most prestigious schools in Paris. His works were idealistic and spiritual with a strong use of color. His color theory, as presented in the 1890 review “Art et Critique”, was based on the premise that “…a picture, before being a battle horse, a female nude or some sort of anecdote, is essentially a flat surface covered with colors assembled in a certain order”

Denis’ work was profoundly influenced by Japanese art and design and, after 1890, by Marthe Meurier, his great love and the subject of many of his pictures. His exploration of the relationship between sacred love and profane love occupied much of his career.

Beside painting and print making, Maurice Denis was an important decorative artist and created many important murals and stained glass windows for public and private commissions.