Maurice Denis

Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
Related to Maurice Denis: Edouard Vuillard

Denis, Maurice

(môrēs` dənē`), 1870–1943, French painter and writer on art. His paintings, usually on religious themes, have not proved so influential as his art theories. As the spokesman for symbolism and for the NabisNabis
[Heb.,=prophets], a group of artists in France active during the 1890s. Paul Sérusier and Maurice Denis were the principal theorists of the group. Outstanding members were Édouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard, Aristide Maillol, Félix Vallotton, and the
..... Click the link for more information.
, Denis proposed his famous definition of painting: "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 1919, Denis attempted to revive the teaching of religious art and cofounded the Studios of Sacred Art. His writings include Théories (2 vol.; 1920, 1922) and Histoire de l'art religieux (1939).

Denis, Maurice


Born Nov. 25, 1870, in Granville, Normandy; died Nov. 3, 1943, in St.-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris. French painter.

Denis studied in Paris at the Julian Academy and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He was influenced by the work of P. Gauguin. Denis was one of the founders of the Nabis group (1890) and of the Studios of Sacred Art (1919) and was a leader of the “neotraditionalist” school in French painting. His art is representative of the symbolist and art nouveau style. It tends toward bold forms and decorative harmony and at the same time is permeated with a vague, vacillating, and at times religious-mystical feeling. It is characterized by flat stylization, the interplay of rounded and weakly defined contour lines, and light, somewhat excessively sweet colors. Denis painted religious and mythological subjects, portraits, and landscapes (The Artist’s Wife, 1893, Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow; Martha and Mary, 1896; the 11-panel Story of Psyche, 1908-09, both in the Hermitage, Leningrad) and executed murals and designs for stained-glass windows and tapestries, as well as theater sets and book illustrations. As a theorist Denis affirmed the primacy of the decorative color principle in painting (Theories, 1912, and New Theories, 1921).


Jamot, P. Maurice Denis. Paris, 1945.
References in periodicals archive ?
La interpretacion canonica de Cezanne se desarrollo fundamentalmente a partir de las impresiones que los artistas Emile Bernard (1868-1941) y Maurice Denis (1870-1943) estamparon sobre el artista y sus denodados esfuerzos por conquistar la realizacion pictorica.
17) Se tenant a l'ecart du livre enlumine medieval, Maurice Denis semble s'etre plutot inspire dans ses illustrations pour Le Voyage d' Urien des ouvrages de la Renaissance relatifs a la nef des fous, et notamment de la Stultifera navis de Sebastian Brant.
Maurice Denis revived religious art in the late nineteenth century, after it was neglected for over two-hundred years, a trend that became increasingly popular throughout the twentieth century and the present time.
Cette liberte, on la retrouve egalement chez les artistes religieux s'inspirant de l'<<art vivant>>, comme Maurice Denis et Ozias Leduc, premier maitre de Borduas, qui trouvent leur inspiration dans l'emotion, dans le tremble de la vie, motivation qui est compatible avec une certaine pratique de l'abstraction en tant qu'expression spontanee du reel et en cela geste authentiquement createur.
Be captivated by Van Gogh's Starry night 1888 and Bedroom at Arles 1889, Gauguin's Tahitian women 1891, Cezanne's beloved Mount Saint-Victoire c 1890, and many other celebrated artworks by artists such as Georges Seurat, Pierre Bonnard, Claude Monet, Maurice Denis, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and [E']douard Vuillard.
Leaving the study of law behind, Bonnard rented a small studio space in 1890 with a few other painters, including Edouard Vuillard and Maurice Denis, fellow members of the Nabis.
9 Bruce Nauman in the 1960s Maurice Denis Museo d'Arte Moderna e through Sept.
PARIS ShortBreaks (0870 027 6076) offers two nights' B&B at Hotel Migny, ex-Waterloo on Eurostar Jan 20, for pounds 139, to see works of artist Maurice Denis at Musee D'Orsay.
In 1900 Maurice Denis painted a large canvas titled Hommage a Cezanne, which shows the esteemed master next to one of his paintings and surrounded by a crowd of admiring younger artists.
Professional colleagues and lifelong friends, Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Maurice Denis and Ker Xavier Roussel were, for a decade, members of the Nabis (Hebrew for "prophets"), a highly influential though quasi-secret brotherhood of artists, musicians and writers active in 1890s France.
At the beginning of his career, however, he was part of a group known as the Nabis (prophets), also including Maurice Denis and Eduard Vuillard, who painted small, low-key pictures using simplified flattened shapes influenced by Japanese prints.
The group was founded by Paul Serusier (1865 - 1927), the original disciple of Gauguin, and he and Maurice Denis (1870 - 1943) were its chief spokesmen.