Sunday 20 November 2011

Paul Ranson

Portrait of Paul Ranson by Georges Lacombe

Continuing the theme of artists associated with Les Nabis, I’m taking a look at the work of Paul Ranson (1864 – 1909). Ranson was born in Limoges, France. As the son of a successful local politician, he received permission to pursue his artistic dreams and started studying at the Ecoles des Arts Décoratifs in Limoges, but transferred to the more prestigious Académie Julian in Paris in 1886.

In 1888, at the Académie, he met Paul Sérusier who encouraged him to join his post-impressionist art group Les Nabis. From 1890 onwards Ranson hosted meetings for Les Nabis at his home. Ranson’s work showed a consistent commitment to the decorative arts: like Aristide Maillol he made designs for tapestry, some of which were executed by his wife. His linear, sinuous style, seen in works such as Woman Standing beside a Balustrade with a Poodle, had strong affinities with Japanese prints and with contemporary developments in Art Nouveau design; it was a style suited to a variety of media, stained glass, lithography, ceramics or tapestry.

c1895 Woman Standing beside a Balustrade with a Poodle 
oil on panel

Ranson tended to favour exotic, symbolic or quasi-religious motifs rather than subjects observed from nature. In his Nabi Landscape of 1890, for example, he sets a variety of obscure feminine symbols within a fantasy landscape.

1890 Nabis Landscape

After his early death in 1909 his wife continued to run the Académie Ranson, which they had opened in 1908 to disseminate Nabi aesthetic ideas and techniques to a younger generation. Teaching was undertaken on a voluntary basis by other Nabis, especially Maurice Denis and Paul Sérusier.

1880 Christ and Buddha

1891 The Blue Cliffs 
oil on canvas

1893 The Sorceress and the Cat 
oil on canvas

1893 Tiger in the Jungle 

1895 Spring 

c1895 The Clearing or Edge of the Wood

1898 Picking Flowers oil on canvas

1899 Arums et Iris Violets et Jaunes 
oil and tempera on canvas

1899 Chardons et Digitales 
oil and tempera on canvas

1899 Foxgloves

1899 Iris et Grandes Fleurs Jaunes et Mauves 
oil and tempera on canvas

1899 Tounesols et Pavots 
oil and tempera on canvas

c1900 Three Bathers Among the Irises

c1902 Vines

c1905 Three Beeches

1906 The Bathing Place or Lotus

Apple Tree With Red Fruit

(Details unknown)


  1. Amazing art! Thank you for the gorgeous, high quality images. These colors are so bright I could almost eat them.

  2. Thank you for your fascinating blogs. Have long been a fan of your work.


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