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Maurice Denis

Yellow Evening over Fourqueux

Artist

Maurice Denis
Granville, France, 1870 – Paris 1943

Title

Yellow Evening over Fourqueux

Date

1890

Materials

Oil on panel

Dimensions

16 x 26.8 cm

Credits

Anonymous gift, inv. 1998.57

Collection

Western Art

This painter, a theoretician and a Catholic, started the group known as the Nabis. These “prophets” of the avant-garde aimed at a new kind of art, “synthetist,” idealistic and anti-academic. In pursuit of this goal, Denis discovered the work of Gauguin. He later remembered, “the deformation of the drawing. The hint of caricature, the colours laid on so flat, it’s all scandalous. Initial amazement, and then, what a revelation!” This painting belongs to this pivotal moment in the artist’s career. Like many of his works, it is painted on a salvaged panel. With its flat layers of colour and whole, almost abstract shapes, it is an example of the earliest, highly experimental Nabi manner used by Denis at the age of twenty. It was at this time that he articulated his famous definition: “Remember that a picture—before being a war-horse or a nude woman or an anecdote—is essentially a flat surface covered with colours assembled in a certain order.”

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