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Maurice Denis. Les chemins de la Nature.

Maurice Denis. Les chemins de la Nature. : Maurice Denis, Vue de Florence depuis San Miniato, 1931, huile sur carton, 35,5 x 51,5 cm, Collection particulière © Catalogue raisonné de l’œuvre de Maurice Denis   

The exhibition

"Art is the sanctification of nature, the nature of everyone, which is content to live". At just twenty years of age, Maurice Denis realised the extent to which nature, and a fortiori landscapes, were essential to his life and his art. The "painter and gardener", in the words of his granddaughter Claire Denis, in his desire to reconcile art and life, found the plastic equivalents to express "the essential purpose of painting, which is expression, emotion and delight", as he put it in 1930. With almost one hundred and fifteen canvases exhibited at the Breton estate of La Roche-Jagu - eleven of them for the first time since his death in 1943 - the "nabi of beautiful icons" confessed his profound desire to elevate the landscape beyond a mere background. At once an open-air chapel and a legendary Arcadia, his representations oscillate between the sacred and the profane, revealing the power of nature to make all stories possible. Whether it's an Annunciation or a Forest of Hyacinths, the landscape is the artist's privileged setting for spirituality. Following in the footsteps of the post-impressionists, using complementary colours, simplified shapes and stylised figures, the painter tends to use drawing as a tool for understanding emotions rather than as a mimetic representation of vegetation. Faced with his icons, everyone can enter into communion and be moved by the richness and beauty of the nature depicted.

Orlane Bachelet


06/05/2023 - 01/10/2023