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Nabis(näbē`) [Heb.,=prophets], a group of artists in France active during the 1890s. Paul SérusierSérusier, Paul
, 1863–1927, French painter. In 1888 at Pont-Aven, Sérusier met Gauguin whose style he adhered to, particularly in his paintings of Breton landscapes. With Maurice Denis, Sérusier was a founder and spokesman of the Nabis.
..... Click the link for more information. and Maurice DenisDenis, Maurice
, 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 Nabis, Denis proposed his famous definition of painting: "Remember that
..... Click the link for more information. were the principal theorists of the group. Outstanding members were Édouard VuillardVuillard, Édouard
, 1868–1940, French painter and lithographer; a member of the Nabis. He is known for his scenes of Montmartre and especially for domestic interiors that evoke the quiet intimacy of home life.
..... Click the link for more information. , Pierre BonnardBonnard, Pierre
, 1867–1947, French painter, lithographer, and illustrator. In the 1890s he was associated with the Nabis. His delight in familiar views of everyday life was transmitted to canvas with joy and gentle fantasy.
..... Click the link for more information. , Aristide MaillolMaillol, Aristide
, 1861–1944, French sculptor, woodcut artist, and painter. At first a painter, Maillol studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and then allied himself with the Nabis.
..... Click the link for more information. , Félix VallottonVallotton, Félix
, 1865–1925, Swiss woodcut artist and painter. Associated with the Nabis, he worked in Paris. In the 1890s Vallotton rejuvenated the woodcut as a creative technique, e.g. The Demonstration (1893, Metropolitan Mus.).
..... Click the link for more information. , and the lesser known Ker Xavier Roussel. The group held its first exhibition in 1892. Influenced by GauguinGauguin, Paul
, 1848–1903, French painter and woodcut artist, b. Paris; son of a journalist and a French-Peruvian mother. Early Life
Gauguin spent the first six years of his life with his family in Lima Peru; as an adolescent he was a sailor in the French
..... Click the link for more information. , the Nabis developed a style characterized by flat areas of boldly juxtaposed but muted colors and heavily outlined surface patterns. They were unified by the decorative character of their work and their dislike of impressionismimpressionism,
in painting, late-19th-century French school that was generally characterized by the attempt to depict transitory visual impressions, often painted directly from nature, and by the use of pure, broken color to achieve brilliance and luminosity.
..... Click the link for more information. . After a successful show in 1899, the group gradually disbanded.
See study by C. Chassé (tr. 1969).
Died 192 B.C. Spartan tyrant who ruled from 207 to 192.
Nabis was descended from the royal family of the Eurypontidai. Pursuing the policy of the Spartan kings Agis IV and Cleomenes III and that of his predecessor, the tyrant Machanidas, Nabis implemented a series of radical social measures. He executed or exiled many of the oligarchs, confiscated the holdings of large-scale landowners for distribution to landless Spartans and Helots, and granted the Helots citizenship. Nabis’ expansion of the franchise increased the strength of the Spartan Army. The same reforms were carried through in Argos, which Nabis had seized; he also attempted to seize Messene.
The threat that social reforms would spread throughout the Peloponnesus caused the Achaean League to go to war against Nabis. Titus Quinctius Flamininus, commander of the Roman Army in Greece, came to the aid of the league. After peace was concluded in 195 B.C., Nabis retained power only over Sparta proper. An attempt at vengeance through renewed war with the Achaean League ended in defeat on land and at sea. Nabis was treacherously murdered, and Sparta was soon annexed by the Achaean League. Accounts of Nabis’ actions are found in the works of the classical authors Polybius, Plutarch, Diodorus Siculus, Livy, and Pausanias.
a group of artists active in Paris from approximately 1890 to 1905. The group’s members included P. Sérusier, M. Denis, K. Roussel, and, later, P. Bonnard, E. Vuillard, and A. Maillol. Influenced by P. Gauguin and the Pont Aven school, the Nabis formulated a distinctive variant of the art nouveau style. Their work, which is close to the spirit of symbolism in literature, is dominated by color, a decorative generalization of form, musical rhythms, and a two-dimensional stylization of motifs from French folk art, Japanese engravings, and early Italian art. The works of Sérusier, Denis, and Roussel are imbued with a mystical, religious mood. The works of Bonnard and Vuillard are distinguished by informal, lyric imagery. The Nabis worked in monumental painting, graphic art, and decorative applied art (designs for rugs, store windows, and furniture).
REFERENCESDenis, M. Théories: 1890–1910. Paris, 1920.
Sérusier, P. ABC de la peinture. Paris, 1950.
Humbert, A. Die Nabis und ihre Epoche. Dresden, 1967.