Maurice Denis (1870 – 1943)

A Portrait of Arthur Huc

Paris, 1892

Oil on millboard

28.5 x 53.5 cm

This portrait was given by Denis to his patron and supporter Arthur Huc (1854 – 1932).  He was an art critic and newspaper owner in Toulouse. 

The artist adopts an unusual horizontal format, allowing him to frame the nonchalantly-posed figure with a patterned wallpaper and a curling plume of cigarette smoke.  This mixture of more realistic forms and abstract patterns, reflects Denis’ role in the artists’ group known as the Nabis (Prophets).  They adopted a more decorative and symbolic style, in reaction to the naturalistic concerns of the Impressionists.

Purchased 1987 (No.87.1)

See this painting in the Blue Gallery

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