Paul Sérusier (1864-1927)
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Sérusier was a French Post-Impressionist painter, known for involvement in the Nabis and the Pont Aven School. Sérusier was born in Paris, where he spent he spent most of his early years. Sérusier studied at the Condorcet Lycée, where he was well educated in Greek and Latin, classical philosophy. After graduating with degrees in philosophy and science, Sérusier decided to continue his studies in the fine arts at the Académie Julian. At the Académie, Sérusier forged many important connections and friendships, including painter Maurice Denis.
In the late 1880s, Sérusier was led to the Breton village, Pont Aven, where a thriving community of painters was beginning to take root. Leaders of the Pont Aven School included Emile Bernard and Paul Gauguin. The Pont Aven painters emphasized a fresh approach to painting, using vibrant colors and imaginative compositions. Sérusier returned to Paris, where he spread the teachings of Gauguin and the Pont Aven School. Other Parisian artists, Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis and Henri Ibels soon joined Sérusier in forming “les Nabis” (the Prophets). The group continued to grow in membership until 1891. The group’s demise was partly due to Gauguin’s move to Tahiti, which led artists in various directions.
By 1892, Sérusier decided to return to Brittany, where he painted the Breton people in the village of Huelgoat. Sérusier was also employed by the Theatre de l’Oeuvre, creating sets and costumes for the “symbolist” performances.
During the mid 1890s, Sérusier had the opportunity to visit a Benedictine monastery in Germany. Sérusier was highly influenced by the monk lifestyle and began to implement ideas he had learned in the monastery into his paintings. Sérusier’s spiritual beliefs slowly distanced him from his friends in Paris. Sérusier eventually
The monks’ doctrine appealed to Sérusier and upon his return to Paris he tried to convince his Nabi friends of their novelty and importance. The ideas met with no enthusiasm in Paris and Sérusier distanced himself from his former friends.
In 1908 Sérusier began to teach regularly at the Ranson Academy and published theories concerning color and form. Séruiser’s most known treatise was called ABC of Painting. Sérusier’s paintings are now in major museums and private collections in France and internationally. Do you think you own a painting by Sérusier? Contact us. We are the experts on Paul Sérusier.