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Still Life with Apples and Violets, 1890-1891

Paul SĂ©rusier

French, 1864-1927
Oil on canvas
15 x 18-1/8 in. (38.1 x 46 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation, Gift of Mr. Norton Simon

On view

Paul Sérusier, one of the most talented intellectuals of his day, hoped to form a collective of artists who were concerned with harnessing pure color and form on their canvases. In late 1888 he formed a group called the Nabis (Hebrew for “prophet”), which included Maurice Denis and Pierre Bonnard, among others. At the time that he painted this still life, Sérusier was deeply interested in the structure exposed in the paintings of Paul Cézanne, and the pyramidal composition of the books, fruit and flowers recall the elder Frenchman’s work. Sérusier’s contrast of warm and cold tones, laid down in flat tints, creates a serene, decorative effect, seen also in the works of Émile Bernard and Paul Gauguin, whom he much admired.

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