Maurice Denis

Grandville (Manche) 25 November 1870 – 3 November 1943 Paris

Le Nabi aux belle Icones



He said, "Art is caricature."

His Journal is published in L’Art et la Vie, October 1896.

He was a Catholic. Interested in a religious art revival. At the time many artists were trying to reconcile reason with desire for faith. Brunetiere justified Transformationism by Catholic dogma.

Was converted to the Synthetism of Gauguin / Pont Aven, but never met Gauguin.

From his journal, "In the chaos and disorder of our lives, the photograph of a Primitive is enough to remind us what our soul is and that its gestures are sublime."

Revolted against Nature and Positivism, but a classical influence unlike more Nordic Symbolism of Serusier.

Born during Franco Prussian War.

Negatively compared the art at the Cafe Volpini show (Gauguin and Pont Aven artistis) to the "Incoherents."


1893 - Collaborated on decors of the Theater de l’Oeuvre founded by Lugne Poe, also a Lycee Condorcet student.
            Illustrates Voyage d’Urien by Gide.
1891 - Le Mystere catholique ex. At the Salon
1895 - 1st trip to Italy with S, Tuscany and Umbria
            Somewhere here he illustrated Sages by Verlaine, and decorated the church at Le Vesinet.
1896 - With Serusier, goes to Prague and sees Verkade.
1901 - Shows Homage to Cezanne at the Salon de l'Sociate Nationale.
1903 - Goes to the Abbey of Beuron with Serusier in Germany.
            Founding member Salon d’Automne (04 or 05) and Salon des Tuileries.
1904 - Visits, with Serusier, Verkade in Monte Cassino.
1905 - went to Spain
1906 - went to Provence with Roussel, saw Cezanne and Renoir
1907 - Germany again with Gide. Sees Verkade in Paris along with Serusier.
1909 - Russia trip, summer residence in Perros-Guirec, Brittany
1910 - decorated cupola of Theatre des Champs-Elysees
???? -  did windows for St. Paul in Geneva
08-19 - Professor at Academie Ranson
1919 - with Des Vallieres created the Ateliers de l’Art Sacre’ dedicated to a renewal of religious painting.
1927 - went to USA and Canada
1929 - Holy Land and Greece
1932 - Elected to the Institute de France, member A. des Beaux-Artes
1943 - Died, knocked down by a lorry in the street during a storm, buried in a 3rd order of the Granciscans costume,
            had been a long time member.



The Nabis and their period. Charles Chasse’. Translated by Michael Bullock 1969. Lund Humphries, London. First published French 1960.
An article written by him in the August 1890 issue of Art et Critique.