Still Life with Apples and Violets

Still Life with Apples and Violets
Paul Sérusier (French, 1864-1927)
Oil on canvas 
15 x 18-1/8 in. (38.1 x 46 cm) 
Credit Line:
The Norton Simon Foundation, Gift of Mr. Norton Simon 
Accession Number:
On View

In 1888, Sérusier—a major theorist as well as an avant-garde painter—organized the artists’ collective known as the Nabis (from the Hebrew word meaning prophet). With his fellow Nabis Denis, Bonnard, and Vuillard, Sérusier pushed painting toward flatness and abstraction, as this still life demonstrates. Acid color applied in curt, parallel strokes creates a patchwork image of three apples, a vase of violets, and a book on a table; a sculpted torso hovers in the background, partly concealed by a tumble of drapery. The painting’s surface encourages us to look not through it, to the objects depicted, but rather at it and its flickering play of colors.


Estate of the artist, presumably by inheritance to;
Mme P. (Marguerite) Sérusier (d. 1950), presumably gift to;
Mademoiselle Henriette Boutaric (d. 1984), Paris, still in 1964.
George G. Frelinghuysen, Los Angeles (sale, Los Angeles, Sotheby Parke Bernet, 4 February 1975, lot 303, ill., as Nature Morte aux voilettes, to);
[Paul Kantor Gallery, Beverly Hills, California, sold 21 March 1975 to];
Norton Simon, Los Angeles; acc. N.75.2.P.; gift 18 October 1983 to;
The Norton Simon Foundation.

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