Updated: Oct 6, 2021
In 1889, Paul Sérusier created a small landscape painting on the back of a cigar box and created an art movement. He was a pioneer of Post-Impressionism, eventually founding the group Les Nabis .Born in Paris to a Flemish father and French mother, he studied at the Académie Julian. During the summer of 1888 he traveled to the Pont-Aven artist colony in Brittany, where he met Paul Gauguin and other prominent artists. During his stay they developed their ideas about moving beyond the influence of Impressionism and using simplified color combined with bold flat shapes. With this small sketch-like painting, he influenced and ushered in the future of modern art. Formerly called “Landscape at the Bois d’Amour at Pont-Aven” (1888), it was considered groundbreaking and retitled by the Nabis , “The Talisman”. It is considered the first Nabi painting.
As the leader of the Nabis , Sérusier sought to paint what he felt as well as what he saw. He encouraged his fellow artists to move beyond representation and to pour their thoughts and emotions onto the canvas. His theories were adopted by the group and as a guide to future abstract artists. Beginning in 1908, his influence he became an instructor at the École Ranson, founded by fellow Nabi, Paul Ranson. It was a popular training ground for modernist painters up until World War II.
Sérusier's abstraction of forms in the pursuit of translating emotion and perception onto the canvas, not only distinguished him from previous artists but also inspired others. He sought to "free form and color from their traditional descriptive functions in order to express personal emotions and spiritual truths." His philosophy of sensation through color resonated with future generations of contemporary abstract artists .
AUTUMN PAINTINGS INSPIRED BY PAUL SERUSIER