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Paul Gauguin (1848—1903) French painter

Pierre Bonnard (1867—1947) French painter and graphic artist

Paul Sérusier (1864—1927)

Maurice Denis (1870—1943) French painter, designer, and art theorist

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A group of painters, mainly French, active in Paris in the 1890s; their outlook was essentially Symbolist and they were particularly influenced by Gauguin's expressive use of colour and rhythmic pattern. The name Nabis (from the Hebrew neebin, ‘prophets’) was coined in reference to the missionary zeal with which they promoted Gauguin's teachings. Sérusier, who met Gauguin at Pont-Aven in 1888, was the driving force behind the group and with Denis was its main theorist. Other members included Bonnard, Maillol (before he turned to sculpture), Ranson (see académie), Vallotton, Vuillard, and Vuillard's brother-in-law, Ker-Xavier Roussel (1867–1944). They were active in design (of posters, stained glass, and theatrical decor) and book illustration as well as painting. Group exhibitions were held between 1892 and 1899, after which the members gradually drifted apart. Several of them, however, continued Nabis ideas into the 20th century, notably Denis and Sérusier, whose work remained esoteric in spirit and bound up with their religious beliefs.

Subjects: Art.

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