By Mary Weaver Chapin, Curator of Prints and Drawings, Portland Art Museum, Oregon; Heather Lemonedes Brown, Virginia N. and Randall J. Barbato Deputy Director and Chief Curator, The Cleveland Museum of Art.
With contributions from Francesca Berry, Senior Lecturer, Department of Art History, Curating, and Visual Studies, University of Birmingham; Francesca Brittan, Associate Professor, Department of Music, Case Western Reserve University; Kathleen Kete, Borden W. Painter, Jr., ’58/H’95 Professor of European History, Trinity College; and Saskia Ooms, Curator, Musée de Montmartre
This handsome volume explores the intimate role of family and private life in the art of four of the celebrated artists of the Nabi brotherhood in fin-de-siècle Paris. In the autumn of 1889, a young group of avant-garde artists in Paris formed a brotherhood to promote a radical new direction in art. Adopting the name Nabis—Hebrew for prophets—they sought to capture subjective experience and emotion in their paintings, prints, and drawings. Private Lives: Home and Family in the Art of the Nabis—Bonnard, Denis, Vallotton, Vuillard, 1889–1900 focuses on intimate views of home and family in the work of four artists of the Nabi brotherhood: Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Félix Vallotton, and Édouard Vuillard. It is the first exhibition to delve deeply into the Nabis’ varied and sophisticated use of private domestic life as the locus for artistic inspiration. For Bonnard and Denis, this arena served as the perfect stage for depicting what Bonnard referred to as the small pleasures and “modest acts of life”; Vallotton and Vuillard, however, hinted at the tensions and betrayals that simmered just below the surface of intimate life. Four brief vignettes enhance the understanding of the rich cultural backdrop of fin-de-siècle Paris. The exhibition catalogue, thematically following the exhibition, will be an in-depth, beautifully illustrated publication providing new insights and updated scholarship on these important members of this influential artistic movement.
This exhibition catalogue, for Private Lives: Home and Family in the Art of the Nabis, Paris, 1889–1900, was produced with the support of the FRench American Museum Exchange (FRAME).