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Attitudes Are Easy and Chaste (Les Attitudes sont faciles et chastes)

Maurice Denis

European Art

Maurice Denis’s suite of twelve lithographs, Love, commissioned by the publisher Ambroise Vollard, was inspired by the artist’s courtship of Marthe Meurier, whom he married in 1893. Each of the prints in the series is inscribed with a lyrical caption taken from the journals that Denis kept throughout his relationship.

Along with Pierre Bonnard and Édouard Vuillard, his fellow Nabis painters (named after the Hebrew word for “messenger” or “prophet”), Denis rejected traditional perspective in favor of two-dimensional surface patterns and areas of pure color, used to convey emotional or spiritual meaning. Denis made the famous pronouncement that came to define twentieth-century modernism: “It must be remembered that any painting—before being a war horse, a nude woman, or some anecdote—is essentially a flat surface covered with colors arranged in a certain order.”

For these prints, he worked closely with the master printmaker Auguste Clot, providing him with detailed descriptions of the colors he imagined. This collaboration allowed them to develop the soft, delicate colors that create an otherworldly quality.
MEDIUM Color lithograph on wove paper
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1892–1899
    DIMENSIONS Image: 15 1/2 x 11 in. (39.4 x 27.9 cm) Sheet: 20 7/8 x 16 in. (53 x 40.6 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed, "Maurice Denis" lower left margin in pencil
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    CREDIT LINE By exchange
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Maurice Denis (French, 1870–1943). Attitudes Are Easy and Chaste (Les Attitudes sont faciles et chastes), 1892–1899. Color lithograph on wove paper, Image: 15 1/2 x 11 in. (39.4 x 27.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, By exchange, 38.442. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 38.442_PS6.jpg)
    EDITION Edition: 100
    IMAGE overall, 38.442_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2012
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT © artist or artist's estate
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