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Maurice Denis and his museum

Located in Saint Germain en Laye in the Yvelines, the departmental museum Maurice Denis houses in the former residence of the painter, a rich collection of Nabi, Symbolist and Post-Impressionist artists.

Maurice Denis (1870-1943) acquired this property in 1914 and made it the crucible of his creative activity and his family life.

Façade du Musée Maurice Denis. © Site du Musée
Façade du Musée Maurice Denis. © Site du Musée

Initially, the fund bequeathed by the Denis family to the Department included more than 1,500 works. But over the past three decades, the collections have been greatly enriched. They form a coherent and important whole over a key period in the history of art, at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Maurice Denis. Portrait de l'artiste devant le prieuré. 1921. Musée Maurice Denis
Maurice Denis. Portrait de l'artiste devant le prieuré. 1921. Musée Maurice Denis

Alike his friends from the Nabi group, Maurice Denis reacted to Impressionism while borrowing his light touches, sensitive to the influence of a Renoir or a Pissarro. He will study the work of Paul Cézanne, about whom he wrote: "Cézanne's example taught us to transpose the data of sensation into elements of works of art".

Maurice Denis. Régates à Perros-Guirec. 1897. Musée Maurice Denis.
Maurice Denis. Régates à Perros-Guirec. 1897. Musée Maurice Denis.

A pupil of the Julian Academy and of Gustave Moreau, Maurice Denis will explain his aesthetic thought in a work "Theories" whose subtitle was: "From Symbolism and Gauguin, towards a new classical order".

Maurice Denis. La Visite à Cézanne. 1906. Musée Granet
Maurice Denis. La Visite à Cézanne. 1906. Musée Granet

But it is in Paul Cézanne that he will see the strongest proximity to his own artistic approach, based on the fact that "to paint is to record colored sensations" He will visit the old master in 1906, in Aix. He will make of this meeting a painting "Visit to Cézanne", in a surprisingly impressionist style.


Musée Départemental Maurice Denis

2 bis, rue Maurice Denis

78100 Saint-Germain-en-Laye


In his art history lectures, Fabrice Roy combines the past with the present, in a poetic and playful evocation of the French 19th century...



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