Lot 138
  • 138

Maurice Denis

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Description

  • Maurice Denis
  • LA DANSE (ÉTERNEL ÉTÉ, WIESBADEN)

  • signed MAU.D (lower left)

  • oil on canvas

Provenance

Ambroise Vollard, Paris (acquired directly from the artist in 1908)
Henri Petiet, Paris
Sale: Drouot Richelieu (Jean-Louis Picard), Paris, 25th November 1992, lot 23
Private Collection, London

Exhibited

Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries, Maurice Denis, 1970, no. 182

Catalogue Note

In 1905 Maurice Denis completed his first major decoration project, described by Andre Pérate as "le chef-d’œuvre de sa jeune maturité" (Andre Pérate, "Maurice Denis" in L’Art et les artistes, november 1923, p. 72). Based on the theme of Dans l’Eternel été retentira le chant nouveau, it was divided into five panels, L’Oratorio, Le Chant Choral, L’Orgue, Le Quatuor and La Danse. According to Claire Denis, these original panels, designed for the music room of Curt Mutzenbecher’s house in Wiesbaden, were most probably destroyed during the 2nd World War and are only known to us through photographs (Fig. 1). Maurice Denis executed two other known versions of La Danse: the present work bought by Ambroise Vollard directly from the artist in 1908 and the version now in the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo (see: Marie-Pierre Sale, Un nouvel art d’habiller le mur, in 1900 (exhibition catalogue), Paris, 2000, p. 116). Together with Vuillard and Bonnard, Denis was a pionneer in enhancing the decorative function of paintings at the turn of the Twentieth century, rediscovering the tradition of Medieval tapestry. Henri Matisse would later describe the essence of decorative painting : "un art d’équilibre, de pureté, de tranquillité, sans sujet inquiétant ou préoccupant, qui soit, pour tout travailleur cérébral, pour l’homme d’affaires aussi bien que pour l’artiste des Lettres, par exemple, un lénifiant, un calmant cérébral, quelque chose d’analogue a un bon fauteuil qui délasse de ses fatigues physiques’ (Henri Matisse, Notes d’un peintre, La Grande Revue, 1908).

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