Definition and background:
An avant-garde group of French painters and poets, active 1888-99, who were persuaded by the advice Paul Gauguin (French, 1848-1903) gave Paul Serusier (French, 1863-1927) in 1888 at Pont-Aven to reject naturalistic representation, and instead, paint in flat areas of pure color. Also influenced by Odilon Redon (French, 1840-1916) and other members of the Symbolist movement, the Nabis felt that a painting should not imitate reality but parallel nature, creating a world unto itself. They stressed the imortance of subjective and sometimes mystical perceptions. Along with painting, they worked in theater design, book illustration, posters and stained glass, and were to various extents, indebted to contemporary Japanese prints. Pi?rre Bonnard (French, 1867-1947) and Edouard Vuillard (French, 1868-1940) were probably the best painters of the group and eventually reverted to a modified style known as Intimisme. Other members included Aristide Maillol (French, 1861-1944), Maurice Denis (French, 1870-1943), Paul Ranson (French, 1864-1909), Ker-Xavier Roussel (French, 1867-1944), F?lix Vallatton (French, 1865-1925), Henri-Gabriel Ibels (French, 1867-1936), Jozsef Rippl-Ronai (French, 1867-1944), and S?rusier. It was S?rusier who suggested the name Nabis, from the Hebrew word Nebiim, meaning "prophets."
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