The Breton Dance

The Breton Dance

Maurice Denis (French, 1870-1943)

Currently on View in H208
Image Licensing

Traditional dances were part of the rich Celtic heritage that led Maurice Denis to paint scenes of Brittany, where he often vacationed with his family. Here he weaves groups of flat, gently flowing dancers into a decorative, curvilinear pattern typical of the Pont-Aven School.

Behind them are the twisted forms of foliage set against the sky, inspired by the actual Breton trees contorted by fierce coastal winds. By using their jagged silhouettes to echo the sinuous outlines of the figures, Denis puts his dancers in step with their setting.

Provenance research is on-going at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. Please contact Annette Schlagenhauff, Curator of European Art, at if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.

Object Information

Maurice Denis (French, 1870-1943)
creation date
about 1891
oil on canvas
15-3/8 x 13 in.
23-1/2 x 20-1/2 in. (framed)
mark descriptions
Signed with monogram, l.r.: MAVD (in circle)
accession number
credit line
Samuel Josefowitz Collection of the School of Pont-Aven, through the generosity of Lilly Endowment Inc., the Josefowitz Family, Mr. and Mrs. James M. Cornelius, Mr. and Mrs. Leonard J. Betley, Lori and Dan Efroymson, and other Friends of the Museum
© Maurice Denis/Artists Rights Society (ARS)
European Painting and Sculpture 1800-1945

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