For several decades the gallery Malingue has had a special link with the Nabis and the artists of the School of Pont-Aven. Their most outstanding works have always been presented at the gallery and in 2010 the exhibition dedicated to the Pont-Aven works of Émile Bernard offered the chance to explore the originality and importance of his production during this period.
This year, the gallery is presenting an exhibition of the first ten years of creation by Maurice Denis (1888-98).
In 1888 Maurice Denis began his studies at the Académie Julian where he met Bonnard, Ibels, Ranson, Sérusier and Vuillard, with whom he would found the group of Nabis. During the last ten years of the nineteenth century, the Nabis (Hebrew for "prophets" or "inspired by God") were one branch of the avant-garde that lay at the origins of modern art. For them, painting was a question of transposing nature and representing sensations, emotions and moods in form and colour. As a vehicle for this symbolist art, they chose to use synthesis and stylized forms.
Denis was fundamental to the group in his role as spokesman and its theoretician through his writings. During the decade that followed, he developed themes and forms that he would not cease to push further during all of his long and productive career.
Through a selection of some thirty works, which have for the most part been loaned from private collections, the exhibition will bring together some of the artist's most representative paintings from this early period of learning and artistic affirmation. Some, like Pines at Loctudy, show Denis's flair for elaborating striking plastic solutions. Others, like The Orchard of the Wise Virgins, offer superb examples of his ability to meld the artistic trends of the time in a formulation rendered unique by a personal dimension. The painstaking choice of works has the purpose of paying tribute to the individual figure and central role embodied by Maurice Denis.
Maurice Denis at the Time of the Nabis will be shown from 22 May to 10 July 2015 and accompanied by a catalogue with a colour image of each work. Gloria Groom, the Curator at the Art Institute of Chicago and a leading specialist in the Nabi period, has very kindly accepted to contribute to the publication, as has the Academician Dominique Bona, who will write about the artist himself.
In a sense this show will be a form of patronage as no work will be for sale, and the Society of Friends of Maurice Denis will contribute its very enthusiastic support in its preparation. Proceeds from the sale of the catalogue will be donated to cancer research (Association loi 1901 Vaincre le Cancer, recognized as being of general interest).