SÉRUSIER Paul
( 1863-1927). French painter; born in Paris; died at Morlaix. Sérusier the theoretician overshadows Sérusier the painter, a victim of his fondness for ideas. Before meeting Gauguin in Brittany, he had already assembled his comrades of the Académie Julian ( Maurice Denis, Bonnard, Vuillard, Roussel, Ranson, Piot, Ibels) into a group, in which philosophy and aesthetics were discussed. This was the origin of the Nabi movement, as much s gathering of friends as an aesthetic current. In 1888, when Sérusier brought back from Brittany Gauguin's theories about painting -- synthesis and the symbol -- he found ready recipients for the message (vide Nabis). To the art of the Impressionists, directly inspired by nature, Sérusier opposed the logic of his reasoning and demonstrations; to improvisation and intuition he replied with intelligence. His painting fed upon intentions. The simplicity of his drawing and composition was not naïveté. Unceasing self-control marked all of his work, and his sensibility is evident in it, although restrained, as if hidden behind the screen of austere discipline. One would often wish he had a little less constraint, for intellectual honesty, refined taste and craftsmanship are insufficient for the construction of a masterpiece. Sérusier's ideas are more convincing than his words, but seeing the works one cannot help thinking of what they might have been if their author had not confined his gifts within such rigid barriers. As it is, Sérusier's work is an indispensable link in the chain of contemporary painting. Sérusier the painter explains a 'moment' -- incomprehensible without him -- in the art of today, and avoids a break in continuity. He reconciles what would be contradictory between the Impressionists, Gauguin, Maurice Denis, Bonnard and Vuillard. Sérusier was born a few years too early. His fondness for poetry corresponded to the Sumbolist movement. Had he been born some fifteen years later, he would have participated in the enthusiasm of the young when Cubism was born. His taste for deliberate construction, composition within the framework of purely linear design, simple and expressive volumes, would have found in Cubism a most favourable environment, and his wish to take part in the development of a valid system would have been satisfied and have realized itself more amply.  
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