Private Lives: Home and Family in the Art of the Nabis, Paris, 1889–1900

Yale Univ. Jul. 2021. 300p. ISBN 9780300257595. $65. FINE ARTS
Accompanying an exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Portland Art Museum (OR), this book explores the work of Les Nabis, a group of French painters in the 1890s whose works expressed feeling and emotion in a figural pictorial language that verged on abstraction. The exhibition’s overarching focus is the home and family life of the four principal members of Les Nabis—Pierre Bonnard, Édouard Vuillard, Maurice Denis, and Félix Vallotton. Contributions from curators and scholars examine particular paintings, prints, and decorative screens and explore broader themes: the subject matter of intimate interiors and family life; gender roles as depicted in these works; music in the home and the Belle Époque in general; gardens; pets in 19th-century France; and the depiction of city life in Paris.
VERDICT With its introductory overview of Les Nabis, written in clear, readable language, this book is recommended for readers who know little about the subject as well as those who are passionate about 19th-century French art and culture.
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