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Red Grooms
Born 1937 in Nashville, TN
Lives and works in New York, NY
Nabis, 1998
oil paint on wood
44 1/4 x 88 1/4 inches
Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection
Gift of the Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation
1998. 7
enlarge image return to collection directory

Grooms’s portrait of the Nabis artists was inspired by an 1899 photograph taken in Paris. The Nabis was a group of radical French painters and poets who were open to all forms of intellectual expression, beliving that they should create a world unto itself, apart from nature. Demonstrating that art should translate emotion through color and form, their paintings are often characterized by brilliant colors that are not particularly “true to nature.” Influenced by the Symbolists and Paul Gauguin, they were active during the period 1889–99. Among the group, which included artists and writers from a variety of national and religious backgrounds, were Maurice Denis, Paul Sérusier, Pierre Bonnard, Ker-Xavier Roussel, Félix Vallatton, Édouard Vuillard, Henri-Gabiel Ibels, and Jozsef Rippl-Ronai. Sérusier suggested the name Nabis, from the Hebrew word Nebiim, meaning “prophets.”

Pictured here, from left to right we find Ker-Xavier Roussel, Édouard Vuillard, Romain Coolus, and Félix Vallatton. Coolus was a writer.