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Paul-Élie Ranson (29 March 1864, Limoges – 20 February 1909, Paris) was a French painter and writer, associated with Les Nabis.
His mother died in childbirth, so he was raised and educated by his grandparents and his father, Louis Casimir Ranson, a politician who served two terms as Mayor of Limoges. He received his first drawing lessons from his grandfather, Jean-Jacques Maquart, and was enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts Appliqués à l'Industrie in 1877.
In 1884, he married his first cousin, Marie-France Rousseau and, for a time, studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, before transferring to the Académie Julian, where he studied with Tony Robert-Fleury from 1886 to 1891. In 1888, he became one of the five founding members of "Les Nabis", a group that played a large role in the transition from Impressionism to the various styles of Modern art. His fellow founders were Paul Sérusier, Henri-Gabriel Ibels, Pierre Bonnard, and Maurice Denis.
In 1891, he participated in the Symbolist performances at the Théâtre d'Art, where the poet, Paul Fort, was organizing shows to benefit his fellow poet, Paul Verlaine, and Paul Gauguin. In 1892, he directed a performance of Ubu Roi by Alfred Jarry at the Théâtre des Pantins.
He also participated in group exhibitions organized by Le Barc de Boutteville, held from 1891 to 1895, as well as at the Salon des indépendantsand the Salon de la Libre Esthétique in Brussels after 1894. That same year, he was able to indulge his life-long interest in puppetry by opening a theater, with puppets made by Georges Lacombe. He encountered some difficulties not long after, however, when the death of his stepfather, Charles Rousseau, forced him and Marie to support their own apartment.
His interest in Theosophy, magic and occultism came to set him apart from his fellow Nabis. In 1898, Marie's pregnancy brought more difficulties, as he resented losing his favorite model and frequent collaborator to the duties of motherhood. After 1899, his health began to deteriorate and his paintings changed; coming to focus on mythology, witchcraft and anti-clerical subjects.
In 1908, seeing him faced with serious physical and financial problems, his friends in Les Nabis created the Académie Ranson, and entrusted him with its management. Marie took over after his death and it survived, in various forms, until 1955.
He died of typhoid fever in 1909 and was buried in Limoges.
Jules-Jean-Paul Fort was a French poet associated with the Symbolist movement. At the age of 18, reacting against the Naturalistic theatre, Fort founded the Théâtre d'Art (1890–93). He also founded and edited the literary reviews Livre d'Art with Alfred Jarry and Vers et Prose (1905–14) with poet Guillaume Apollinaire, which published the work of Paul Valéry and other important Symbolist writers. Fort is notable for his enormous volume of poetry, having published more than thirty volumes of ballads and, according to Amy Lowell, for creating the polyphonic prose form in his 'Ballades francaises'.
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.
The Académie Julian was a private art school for painting and sculpture founded in Paris, France, in 1867 by French painter and teacher Rodolphe Julian (1839–1907) that was active from 1868 through 1968. It remained famous for the number and quality of artists who attended during the great period of effervescence in the arts in the early twentieth century. After 1968, it integrated with ESAG Penninghen.
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. He was a founding member of the Post-Impressionist group of avant-garde painters Les Nabis, and his early work was strongly influenced by the work of Paul Gauguin, and the prints of Hokusai and other Japanese artists. He 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.
Henri Julien Félix Rousseau was a French post-impressionist painter in the Naïve or Primitive manner. He was also known as Le Douanier, a humorous description of his occupation as a toll and tax collector. He started painting seriously in his early forties; by age 49, he retired from his job to work on his art full-time.
François-Louis Français (1814–1897), also known as Louis Français, was a French painter, lithographer and illustrator who became one of the most commercially successful landscape painters of the 19th century. A former pupil of Gigoux, he began his career by studying lithography and wood engraving, becoming a prolific illustrator and print-maker. His work as an illustrator is to be found in around forty books and numerous magazines from the late 1830s to the 1860s. Français also produced a large number of pen and ink drawings, enhanced by sepia, notable for their attention to detail and for their technical adroitness and conciseness.
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.
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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.
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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.
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