School of Paris

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Raoul Dufy, Regatta at Cowes, (1934), Washington D.C. National Gallery of Art.

School of Paris (French: École de Paris) refers to three distinct groups of artists: a group of medieval manuscript illuminators; a group of French and non-French artists working in Paris before World War I; and a group of both French and non-French artists living in Paris between the two world wars and beyond.

Medieval illuminators[edit]

The School of Paris also refers to the many manuscript illuminators, whose identities are mostly unknown, who made Paris an internationally important centre of illumination throughout the Romanesque and Gothic periods of the Middle Ages, and for some time into the Renaissance. The most famous of these artists were Jean Pucelle and Jean Fouquet. The Limbourg brothers, originally from the Netherlands, also spent time in Paris, as well as Burgundy and Bourges, but their style is not typical of the Paris of the day. Many of the painters in Parisian workshops were women.

Modern School of Paris[edit]

Sonia Delaunay, Rythme, 1938

The School of Paris describes, not any one art movement or an institution, but is indicative of the importance of Paris as a center of Western art in the early decades of the 20th century. Between 1900 and 1940 the city became a magnet for artists from all over the world and a centre for artistic activity. School of Paris was used to describe this broad affiliation, particularly of non-French artists.[1]

The group of non-French artists in Paris before World War I created in the styles of Post-Impressionism, Cubism, Fauvism, and included artists like Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Amedeo Modigliani and Piet Mondrian. French artists included Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse, Jean Metzinger and Albert Gleizes. Picasso and Matisse have been described as the twin chiefs (chefs d’école) of the School.[2] Les Nabis were one of a number of groups based in Paris.

Many of these same artists, plus Jean Arp, Robert Delaunay, Sonia Delaunay, Joan Miró, Constantin Brâncuși, Raoul Dufy, Tsuguharu Foujita, Emmanuel Mané-Katz; the Artists from Belarus, including Chaim Soutine, Michel Kikoine, Pinchus Kremegne, Ossip Zadkine, Jacques Lipchitz; the Russian prince born in Saint Petersburg Alexis Arapoff, Polish artist Marek Szwarc and others worked in Paris between World War I and World War II, in various styles including Surrealism and Dada. A significant group of Jewish artists working together came to be known as the Jewish School of Paris. This group included Mané-Katz, Soutine, Marc Chagall, Moise Kisling, and Jules Pascin.[3]

In the same period, the School of Paris denomination was also extended to an informal grouping of classical composers that centered on musicians who had emigrated from Central and Eastern European and were now working in Paris. Composers who were prominently cited as members included Alexander Tansman, Alexander Tcherepnin, Bohuslav Martinů and Tibor Harsányi. Their preferred meeting place was the Café Du Dôme in Montparnasse. Unlike Les Six, this loosely-knit group did not seek to adhere to any particular stylistic orientation.[4]

After the Second World War the term School of Paris often referred to Tachisme, Lyrical Abstraction, the European parallel to American abstract expressionism and those artists are also related to Cobra.[citation needed] Important proponents were Jean Dubuffet, Zoran Music, Pierre Soulages, Nicolas de Staël, Hans Hartung, Serge Poliakoff, Bram van Velde, Georges Mathieu and Jean Messagier, among others. Many of their exhibitions took place at the Galerie de France in Paris.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "School of Paris". Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved July 16, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Glossary of art terms: School of Paris". Tate Gallery. Retrieved July 16, 2014. 
  3. ^ Ehrlich, M. Avrum, ed. (2008). Encyclopedia of the Jewish Diaspora: Origins, Experiences, and Culture 1. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 829. 
  4. ^ Korabelʹnikova, Li͡udmila Zinovʹevna (2008). "European Destiny: The Paris School". Alexander Tcherepnin: The Saga of a Russian Emigré Composer. Indiana University Press. pp. 65–70. ISBN 0-253-34938-9. 

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