uring the years of his intense activity between the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, Maurice Denis played a fundamental role in the history of the early European avant-garde movements, as refined painter and leading theoretician in the artistic and cultural debate. Through a chronological itinerary based around more than 100 works, his vast eclectic activity as painter, but also draughtsman, decorator, photographer, critic and art historian. The exhibition will include famous masterpieces from the permanent collections of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, generously lent to Mart, but also less well-known or unpublished ones, will make it possible to examine every aspect of his activity: from the Nabis period to the more markedly Symbolist one, and on to the phase in which Denis rediscovered what critics have defined as a “new classicism”.
After the stages in Paris and Montreal, the exhibition comes to Mart after over 12 years since the last travelling exhibition, hosted in a number of major European museums. This is a unique opportunity to discover the breadth and originality of the pictorial research of Maurice Denis, but above all to reveal the novelty of his fundamental contributions to the history of European art between the 19th and 20th century.
Maurice Denis is “truly at the centre of painting of his time”, as Serge Lemoine, president of the Musée d’Orsay. In his painting, “the line becomes arabesque and generates the stylisation of form, as in Ingres or Puvis de Chavannes or, later, in Matisse. This great school of thinking runs right through the 20th century”.
Directing committee: Serge Lemoine, Guy Cogeval, Gabriella Belli.
Scientific committee: Jean-Paul Boullion, Sylvie Patry, Isabelle Gaëtan, Nathalie Bondil with the collaboration of Claire Denis.
Exhibition co-produced with: Musée d’Orsay, Réunion des musées nationaux, Paris; Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal and the Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto.