Musée d'Orsay: The Intimate Maurice Denis, Photographs

The Intimate Maurice Denis, Photographs

The user could not see his subject clearly through the viewfinder at the moment of taking the photograph, but as Maurice Denis was familiar with composition through painting, he managed to reduce the element of chance, and impose his personal vision on a somewhat unpredictable technique.

Maurice DenisDominique in a straw hat© Musée d'Orsay, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt
By getting as close as possible to his subject, a feature already seen in his paintings, the artist produced silhouettes or blurred faces.

Thanks to the instant camera, photography lent itself easily to suggestion and poetic evocation, so important to that generation of artists, from Verlaine, Mallarmé and Debussy, to Rodin and to Carrière whose work irresistibly comes to mind when looking at certain Denis photographs.

If the photographs reveal the painter's taste for symbols, simplified shapes and harmony of line, he in turn carefully studied his photographs and borrowed motifs which can be discerned in his paintings, albeit in a more refined form.

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