The Two Sisters, 1891
Maurice Denis (1870-1943)
Like the other painters in the Nabis group Maurice Denis endeavoured in his work to express an état d’âme, a state of mind. The unearthly blue-green tints in the faces of the two sisters emphasise the fearful mood in this painting.
The canvas originally formed part of a larger picture, based on the play L’intruse (The intruder) by the Belgian playwright Maeterlinck. This larger work must have proved difficult to sell as Denis cut up the canvas himself. The painter apparently regarded this picture as the most successful fragment as he made a special frame for it which repeats the floral pattern in the background. Denis turned the majority of the other fragments into new pictures by painting on the reverse of the canvases.