Gauguin, Bonnard, and Denis are three great French artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the years following the breakthrough of Impressionism, they went in search of new artistic paths. The elusive Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) was a shining example for the introverted Pierre Bonnard (1867–1947) and the theoretician Maurice Denis (1870–1943). Bonnard and Denis were briefly united with a few other artists such as Valloton and Vuillars under the name of Les Nabis, after the Hebrew word for ‘prophet’. They formed a small but fascinating group of young artists. Unlike the Impressionists, whose primary aim was to capture the fleeting qualities of natural light, the Nabis emphasized colour, feeling, symbolism, and imagination. Their work was quickly embraced in Paris and in Moscow.
The exhibition’s highlights included a complete reconstruction of Ivan Morozov’s concert hall spectacularly decorated with original panels by Maurice Denis; as well as the triptych by Pierre Bonnard, Méditerrannée, which was also created for Morozov’s home. The exhibition also featured a unique, extensive music programme. Concerts were held every week with music by French and Russian composers. 43 concerts were held, featuring compositions from artists like Rachmaninov, Ravel, Debussy, Tchaikovsky, and Prokofiev.
Gauguin, Bonnard, Denis. A Russian Taste for French Art was on at the Hermitage from 14 September 2013 to 28 February 2014.
The Hermitage Amsterdam takes it as their mission to draw upon art and history to inspire, enrich, and offer the opportunity for reflection. By way of their exhibitions and activities, the museum presents world heritage from the collections of various museums in innovative ways. The museum also houses collections from other museums, including the Amsterdam Museum, the Rijksmuseum (the exhibition Portrait Gallery of the 17th Century), and Museum van de Geest | Dolhuys (Museum of the Mind | Outsider Art).
The museum is housed in the Amstelhof, a historical building that used to be a home for the elderly from the late 15th all the way to the early 21th century. Only in 2007, the last residents were moved out of the building, which was in dire need of renovation. Two years later, on 20 June 2009 the Hermitage Amsterdam was opened to the public with the launch of the exhibition At the Russian court.
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