Maurice Denis, ‘Self Portrait in front of the Priory’, 1921, ARS/Art Resource

Image rights: Erich Lessing / Art Resource, NY / Denis, Maurice (1870-1943) © ARS, NY

About Maurice Denis

Maurice Denis is remembered as a leading theoretician of Symbolism and a champion of the work of Paul Cézanne; in Denis’s lifetime, however, his own painting was not always met with critical attention. Denis studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, as well as the Académie Julian under Jules Lefebvre. Along with school friends including Pierre Bonnard and Paul Ranson, Denis founded Les Nabis, an offshoot of the Symbolist movement that reacted against the naturalistic tendencies of Impressionism. Denis, who was known as “Le Nabi aux Belles Icons” (“the prophet of beautiful icons”) produced work that was attentive to color and surface, with the decorative sensibilities of Art Nouveau. His paintings often featured religious iconography, and he considered himself a Christian painter.

French, November 25, 1870 - November, 1943, Granville, France, based in Paris, France