Nabi Dictum: The Essence

Paul Serusier, The Talisman

Paul Sérusier: The Bois d’Amour à Pont-Aven: The Talisman (Le Talisman), 1888, oil on wood…, Musée d’Orsay, Paris (By Paul Sérusier – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=121893.

“A picture, before being a war horse, a nude woman, or some anecdote, is essentially a flat surface covered by colours in a certain order.” (Maurice Denis)

(c) 2018 JMN.

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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One Response to Nabi Dictum: The Essence

  1. Eric Wayne says:

    This is a perfect example of an artist making bold claims for all art which only really best apply to his own. Here he wants to reduce all painting the fundamental, colored, flat shapes. And I’d say his art suffers from this reductionism in that it ends up being too much just flat patches of color and not enough something else. Gauguin did more with flat color, but also much more with content, as did Van Gogh, but he added surface texture (and I believe was the first to do so).

    Clyfford Still is an artist who probably would agree with Denis.

    I’d say reducing painting to an arrangement of inert pigment on a flat surface is shooting oneself in both feet and the nads, and I’d counter that the real magic happens in something transcending the medium itself, even in his own art.

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