Sérusier’s ‘The Talisman’ A prophecy of color at the Musée d’Orsay

Paris Musée d’Orsay dedicates an exhibition to Sérusier’s ‘Talisman’ a painting that became an icon of Les Nabis. This landscape with simplified shapes is a “prophecy of color” and you can rediscover it from January 29 to April 28, 2019 at the Musée d’Orsay.

For the “Sérusier’s ‘The Talisman’ A prophecy of color” exhibition, Paris Musée d’Orsay brings together over 60 works by Paul Gauguin, Emile Bernard, Maurice Denis, Edouard Vuillard around Sérusier’s masterpiece. An exhibition running from January 29 to April 28, 2019.

Painted in October 1888, the small painting (270x210mm) by Paul Sérusier under the leadership of Gauguin has become an icon for Les Nabis thanks to his pure and abstract painting. Why? How? The exhibition takes us behind the scenes of the creation with the light of the latest discoveries about the painting.

The first one to have told the work is Maurice Denis, his first owner, who explained the work was born from a lesson from Gauguin to Sérusier, in the open air in Pont-Avent. He would have aid to Sérusier: “How do you see this tree? Is it really green? Use green, the most beautiful green on your palette. And that shadow, rather blue? Don’t afraid to paint it as blue as possible”.

This beautiful story about a painting lesson from Gauguin to Sérusier that made the student into one of the masters of the Les Nabis is made up since Gauguin wasn’t Sérusier’s teacher but agreed to give him some advice even though behind the work it’s written “Fait en Octobre 1888 sous la direction de Gauguin par P. Sérusier Pont-Avent” [Made in October 1888 under the leadership of Gauguin by P. Sérusier Pont-Avent]. Maurice Denis also told the public for years that the work had been painted on a cigar box (which is wrong!). All these anecdotes and speculations are highlighted for a beautiful display of the work and the influence it had on art.

Besides this major work, we find Paul Sérusier’s Cercle Chromatique, Pierre Bonnard’s Les Voiliers régates (circa 1932), Edouard Vuillard’s Le Portrait de Ker-Xavier Roussel dit Le Liseur (circa 1890) and Paul Gauguin’s Marine avec vache (1888).

Nevertheless, Paul Sérusier, only 23 years old, has released “The Talisman”, a synthetic work highlighting the elements on a simple wooden board, a work that shook art in Paris off and that deserves an exhibition, 130 years after its creation!

Photo credit: Paul Sérusier, The Talisman, October 1888 ® RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d’Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

Elodie D.
Last updated on 14 January 2019

Practical information

Opening Time
From 29 January 2019 to 28 April 2019



    62 rue de Lille
    75007 Paris 7

    -26 ans UE: Free
    tarif réduit: 11 €
    tarif plein: 14 €

    Recommended age
    For all

    Official website

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    Horaires : 9h30-18h sauf le lundi, nocturnes jeudis jusqu'à 21h45

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