During the end of the 1800s many artists were influenced by the art of Japan and Denis was no exception. The trend started with the opening of trade with Japan 1858, and was in full swing with a major retrospective of Japanese prints at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1890. Even before this Denis had been cutting out and studying the illustrations of the catalog Japan Artistique published by the German French art dealer Siegfried Bing (1838-1905). In his painting Figures in a Spring Landscape (1897) Denis has created a very stylized composition imitating a Japanese screen. Here we see a much more sophisticated use of complementary colors of green and red then his earlier work. The low contrast approach provides a lovely soft and intimate feeling to this scene. Here we see that Denis has evolved his work with synthetism, as his interlocking shapes walk the line between flat color and realism.
October 7th, 2020
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