Decorative Elements Explored in Exhibit

Art Business News, April 2001 | Go to article overview

Decorative Elements Explored in Exhibit


Created mainly for private European apartments and mansions around the turn of the last century, 85 colorful paintings by four French Post-Impressionists have been brought together for the exhibition "Beyond the Easel: Decorative Painting by Bonnard, Vuillard, Denis and Roussel, 1890-1930" at the Art Institute of Chicago. The exhibit features works in unusual formats ranging from mural-like and intimate-scale wall and door paintings to folding screens. Coorganized by the Art Institute of Chicago and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the exhibit is on view in Chicago until May 16 and will then travel to New York from June 26 to Sept. 9.

Known as decorations, the paintings and folding screens represent both a departure from traditional easel painting and a return to the centuries-old idea of painting as an integral element in interior decor. Professional colleagues and lifelong friends, Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Maurice Denis and Ker Xavier Roussel were, for a decade, members of the Nabis (Hebrew for "prophets"), a highly influential though quasi-secret brotherhood of artists, musicians and writers active in 1890s France. …

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