Homage to Cézanne (French: Hommage à Cézanne) is a painting in oil on canvas by the French artist Maurice Denis dating from 1900. It depicts a number of key figures from the once secret brotherhood of Les Nabis (Hebr. the Prophets). The painting is a retrospective; by 1900 the group was breaking up as its members matured.
In this painting, Maurice Denis has gathered a group of friends, artists and critics to celebrate Paul Cézanne, who is represented by his still life Fruit Bowl, Glass and Apples of 1879–80 on an easel in the centre of the painting.The scene is the shop of the art dealer Ambroise Vollard in the Rue Laffitte. The Cézanne painting had belonged to Paul Gauguin who is thus evoked, despite not being pictured, having left France permanently in 1895 for the South Seas. Gauguin described the Cézanne as "an exceptional pearl, the apple of my eye." Works by Gauguin and Renoir can be seen in the background.
Pictured are many of the key figures from the secret brotherhood of the Nabis, for whom Gauguin was the principal mentor.Included are the symbolist painter Odilon Redon, the focus of attention on the far left, Paul Sérusier (Nabi instigator) centre talking to Redon, and at the back, left to right, Édouard Vuillard, the critic André Mellerio wearing a top hat, Ambroise Vollard behind the easel, Maurice Denis, Paul Ranson, Ker-Xavier Roussel, Pierre Bonnard with a pipe, and on the far right Marthe Denis, Maurice's wife.
Redon is the respected elder figure of the group, set somewhat apart from the rest. It can be inferred from Sérusier's pose that he is explaining to Redon why the Nabis admire Cézanne.Over time, Redon had come to be more closely associated with Cézanne than with Symbolist fellow traveller Gustave Moreau. Redon's inclusion in the picture is not surprising; Denis was a fan of Redon and once remarked "the lesson of Redon is his powerlessness to paint anything which is not representative of a state of soul, which does not express some depth of emotion, which does not translate an interior vision."
At 180 cm high x 240 cm wide the painting is almost life size, which serves to increase its visual impact. The composition has strong verticals in the erect poses of the subjects, the easel and the walking stick, against which the brightly coloured rectangle of the framed still life is contrasted. The scene is crowded. Vollard is grasping the easel which is bursting out of the top edge of the painting, and the figures fully occupy the space of the canvas, leaving little room for anything else. Mrs Denis is reduced to peering over Bonnard's shoulder. Contrasting the strong verticals, the heads of the group provide a horizontal rhythm to the work. The conservative black suits belie the avant-garde reputation of the Nabis.
Belinda Thomson described Homage to Cézanne as Denis "turning away from the more spectacular, subjective Symbolism of Gauguin and van Gogh towards what he saw as the reassertion of classical values in Cézanne."Denis had visited Rome with Gide in 1898 where he had discovered a renewed interest in classicism. He subsequently published articles such as "Cézanne" in 1907 and "De Gauguin et de Van Gogh au classicisme" in 1909 which argued that classicism was at the core of French cultural tradition. By doing so, he influenced a new generation of French artists.
A possible antecedent for the work is A Studio at Les Batignolles (1870) by Henri Fantin-Latour, which features, amongst others, Édouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Émile Zola and Claude Monet.
Homage to Cézanne was shown at the Salon de la Société nationale des beaux-arts, Paris, 1901, and the Salon de la Libre Esthétique, Brussels, Belgium, 1901. It was not shown again in an exhibition until 1948.Reactions in 1901 were mixed. Denis referred to the work in his diary as "that painting, which still makes the public laugh".
Homage to Cézanne was in the collection of the writer André Gide who donated it to the Musée du Luxembourg in 1928. It then entered three other collections in Paris: the Musée National d'Art Moderne, in 1977, then The Louvre and finally the Musée d'Orsay. A preparatory drawing is held in a private collection in Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
Paul Cézanne was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th-century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. As a celebrator of beauty and especially feminine sensuality, it has been said that "Renoir is the final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to Watteau."
The Musée d'Orsay is a museum in Paris, France, on the Left Bank of the Seine. It is housed in the former Gare d'Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900. The museum holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1914, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography. It houses the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters including Berthe Morisot, Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. Many of these works were held at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume prior to the museum's opening in 1986. It is one of the largest art museums in Europe.
Les Nabis were a group of young French artists active in Paris from 1888 until 1900, who played a large part in the transition from impressionism and academic art to abstract art, symbolism and the other early movements of modernism. The members included Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Paul Ranson, Édouard Vuillard, Ker-Xavier Roussel, Félix Vallotton, Paul Sérusier and Auguste Cazalis. Most were students at the Académie Julian in Paris in the late 1880s. The artists shared a common admiration for Paul Gauguin and Paul Cézanne and a determination to renew the art of painting, but varied greatly in their individual styles. They believed that a work of art was not a depiction of nature, but a synthesis of metaphors and symbols created by the artist. In 1900, the artists held their final exhibition and went their separate ways.
Jean-Édouard Vuillard was a French painter, decorative artist and printmaker. From 1891 through 1900, he was a prominent member of the Nabis, making paintings which assembled areas of pure color, and interior scenes, influenced by Japanese prints, where the subjects were blended into colors and patterns. He also was a decorative artist, painting theater sets, panels for interior decoration, and designing plates and stained glass. After 1900, when the Nabis broke up, he adopted a more realistic style, painting landscapes and interiors with lavish detail and vivid colors. In the 1920s and 1930s he painted portraits of prominent figures in French industry and the arts in their familiar settings.
Pierre Bonnard was a French painter, illustrator and printmaker, known especially for the stylized decorative qualities of his paintings and his bold use of color. A founding member of the Post-Impressionist group of avant-garde painters Les Nabis, his early work was strongly influenced by the work of Paul Gauguin, as well as the prints of Hokusai and other Japanese artists. Bonnard was a leading figure in the transition from Impressionism to Modernism. He painted landscapes, urban scenes, portraits and intimate domestic scenes, where the backgrounds, colors and painting style usually took precedence over the subject.
Maurice Denis was a French painter, decorative artist and writer, who was an important figure in the transitional period between impressionism and modern art. He was associated with Les Nabis then the Symbolist movement, and then with a return to neo-classicism. His theories contributed to the foundations of cubism, fauvism, and abstract art. Following the First World War, he founded the Ateliers d'Art Sacré, decorated the interiors of churches, and worked for a revival of religious art.
Paul-Élie Ranson was a French painter and writer, associated with Les Nabis.
Ambroise Vollard was a French art dealer who is regarded as one of the most important dealers in French contemporary art at the beginning of the twentieth century. He is credited with providing exposure and emotional support to numerous then-unknown artists, including Paul Cézanne, Aristide Maillol, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Louis Valtat, Pablo Picasso, André Derain, Georges Rouault, Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh. He was also an avid art collector and publisher.
Paul Sérusier was a French painter who was a pioneer of abstract art and an inspiration for the avant-garde Nabis movement, Synthetism and Cloisonnism.
The Musée départemental Maurice Denis "The Priory" is a museum dedicated to Nabi art located in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, in the Parisian region (Île-de-France). The museum is dedicated to Maurice Denis, a French symbolist Nabi painter. The museum showcases his work as well as that of many other members of the school; it is the largest collection of Nabi art in France.
Henry Lerolle was a French painter, art collector and patron, born in Paris. He studied at Académie Suisse and in the studio of Louis Lamothe.
Oviri is an 1894 ceramic sculpture by the French artist Paul Gauguin. In Tahitian mythology, Oviri was the goddess of mourning and is shown with long pale hair and wild eyes, smothering a wolf with her feet while clutching a cub in her arms. Art historians have presented multiple interpretations—usually that Gauguin intended it as an epithet to reinforce his self-image as a "civilised savage". Tahitian goddesses of her era had passed from folk memory by 1894, yet Gauguin romanticises the island's past as he reaches towards more ancient sources, including an Assyrian relief of a "master of animals" type, and Majapahit mummies. Other possible influences include preserved skulls from the Marquesas Islands, figures found at Borobudur, and a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple in central Java.
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André Mellerio (1862–1943) was a French art critic who promoted the cause of Symbolism and "idealist" art and appeared in two pictures by Maurice Denis. He was the biographer, and great friend, of Odilon Redon.
Portrait of Ambroise Vollard is an 1899 oil-on-canvas portrait by Paul Cézanne of his art dealer Ambroise Vollard. It was bequeathed by Vollard on his death to the Petit Palais in Paris, where it is still housed today. Like many of his portraits, the Portrait of Ambroise Vollard displays the significant role of the subject in Cézanne's life, and specifically, the artist's gratitude for promoting his work and establishing his reputation as an artist.
George Viau was a French dentist and art collector. His collection, which was built up and sold off more than once, included work by many impressionist painters and the artists who influenced them. Viau's dental practice was at number 47 Boulevard Haussmann, where one of his patients was Claude Monet.
The Talisman is a painting by French artist Paul Sérusier made in 1888, under the guidance of Paul Gauguin at the artist's colony of Pont-Aven in Brittany. Formally known as The Bois d'Amour at Pont Aven, it was called The Talisman and became the starting point and icon of the group of young painters called The Nabis. It was a landmark in early Post-Impressionism, Synthetism, and Cloisonnism. It is now in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.
Self-Portrait with the Yellow Christ is an 1890 or 1891 painting by Paul Gauguin, produced in Pont-Aven in Brittany and now in the musée d'Orsay in Paris, to which it was assigned after its purchase by the French state in 1994 with financial assistance from Philippe Meyer and a Japanese patron.
Georges Rasetti was a French Impressionist and Modernist painter and ceramicist who was born in Paris, France. Rasetti began by being a painter of genre and landscapes. In 1886, he married Céline Chaudet, sister of Georges Chaudet, painter and photographer. His son, Georges Estrel Rasetti, was also a painter and sculptor.