These artists took from Gauguin the challenge to traditional easel painting, especially his notion that all art should be decorative. By making mural-like paintings and screens, they not only developed a new language for picture-making favoring large flat surfaces and allover design, they also returned art to its original function as decoration for a specific interior setting. In addition to at least five splendid folding screens, the exhibition includes and reunites paintings that, although once part of ensembles or series, have since been separated and dispersed into public and private collections. In some instances, the installation evokes the interior for which the works were originally conceived.

Following its presentation at The Art Institute of Chicago from February 25 through May 16, 2001, the exhibition will be on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, from June 26 through September 9, 2001.

Beyond the Easel: Decorative Painting by Bonnard, Vuillard, Denis, and Roussel, 1890–1930, a catalogue by exhibition curator Gloria Groom and Bonnard scholar Nicholas Watkins (University of Leicester), will accompany the exhibition. The catalogue numbers noted throughout this Web site refer to this publication. Read more about the catalogue, including an excerpt.

Beyond the Easel: Decorative Painting by Bonnard, Vuillard, Denis, and Roussel, 1890-1930 was co-organized by The Art Institute of Chicago and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. This exhibition is supported by the David and Mary Winton Green Research Fund and an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

The Chicago presentation is made possible through the generous support of the Sara Lee Foundation.

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