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The Nabis: 1 Beginnings
Over the last few months, I have systematically worked through the careers and work of those painters who have been associated with the Nabis. Viewed individually, it’s hard to assemble a picture of where they came from, what the Nabis were, and where they went. In this and the... Read more
The Great Wave 2, Courbet to Gauguin
In the previous of these two articles, I looked at European paintings of near-breaking ‘regular’ or “surfer’s” waves prior to 1850, and the appearance of Katsushika Hokusai’s woodblock print of The Great Wave off Kanagawa, which became so popular in Japan. No one knows when Hokusai’s Great Wave first... Read more
The Dutch Nabi: Meijer de Haan
At around 0300 on 16 October 2012, thieves broke into the Kunsthal in Rotterdam and made off with a small haul of modern masters. A couple of Monet’s paintings of London, one each by Picasso, Matisse, Gauguin, and Lucian Freud. The fate of those paintings remains unknown, although the... Read more
Like an obelisk: Nabi paintings of Jan Verkade
If some of the more prolific Nabis have become quite obscure, those who had brief artistic careers like Jan Verkade (1868–1946) have all but vanished. Known in the group as le nabi obéliscal (the obeliscal Nabi), he became a Benedictine monk in 1894 and was later ordained as a... Read more
Geese 1: Farmyards and wetlands
Described in a masterful understatement as being “among the most aggressive of all poultry”, geese can be fearsome birds. They were first domesticated in Europe several millenia ago, and since then have provided meat, eggs, fat and their downy feathers to keep people fed, greased and warm. This weekend... Read more
Paul Sérusier: 2 Harvest
In the first of these two articles about the Nabi painter Paul Sérusier (1864–1927), I looked at a selection of his works up to 1895, including his famous Talisman, viewed by many to be a pioneering abstract painting. This article completes my account by considering his mature style as... Read more
Paul Sérusier: 1 The Talisman
One of the Nabis who seems to be remembered for but a single painting is Paul Sérusier (1864–1927), who is also claimed to be a “pioneer of abstract art”. He was certainly unusual among the Nabis for his style, which was closer to that of Gauguin than the rest... Read more
The Decameron: The hundred and first story
It’s generally held that Boccaccio’s Decameron consists of a hundred stories told ten each day for a total of ten days. But there’s a bonus, the hundred and first story which is buried in Filostrato’s introduction to the fourth day. In some ways, this is the best known of... Read more
Truth in (landscape) painting 5 – conclusions
This series of articles set out to consider how faithfully landscape painters have tried to depict the views and objects that they paint, as the ‘truth’ of their painting. In the first, I rushed through the early history of landscape painting, to produce the view of Reynolds (1771) that... Read more
Favourite Paintings 7: Camille Pissarro, Setting Sun and Fog, Éragny, 1891
A simply golden landscape at sunset, by the central figure in Impressionism and father of Post-Impressionism. Painter Jacob Abraham Camille Pissarro Painting Setting Sun and Fog, Éragny Year 1891 Media oil on canvas Dimensions 54 x 65 cm (21.3 x 25.6 in) Collection Private collection The Painting Sunset behind... Read more