More than a few days before these magnificent sets nabis to be again dismembered. Since they were painted, at the end of the Nineteenth century, this is the first time they are gathered, at least in part. By them, by their arabesques and their bright colors, their structure largely japanese-style, resolutely modern, the Museum of the Luxembourg is smelling a little bit of the crazy life lived by those who wanted them.

Take, for example, the panels executed by Vuillard for the living room-dining room of 60, avenue du Bois (today avenue Foch). Their installation in late 1894 in the mansion of Alexander and Olga Natanson, co-founders of the famous publishing culture and the arts, La Revue blanche , has been the pretext for a sumptuous feast. That evening, a gigantic bar had replaced the grand piano. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, skull and cheeks clean-shaven, vest, cut in an american flag, was the primary officiant. And the lovely Misia Natanson, the muse.

The frail and whimsical painter mit these mixtures polychrome that we came to call “cocktails” to fashion in the capital. He watered generously the three hundred people present, all very distinguished, all related to the avant-garde until the anarchist of the most radical. The critic Félix Fénéon, usually sphinx fearless, was staggering. The compère more synthetic, less pointillist, Pierre Bonnard (nicknamed rightly “the nabi very japonard” if we are to believe his screen, Women in the garden and a set of four scenes bucolic) ends up dead-drunk on the floor of a bathroom. The actor symbolist and co-founder of the Theatre of the Work, Lugné-Poe, yet a lover of absinthe, also fell on this field of honor. Only it seems, such as the Ulysses of Homer, Mallarmé never succumbed to these alcoholics sirens.

Machine dream

dream, and to redo a bit of partying and the world in front of these jewels of Art nouveau, the prospects storied way print, to dark circles-signs document and the tones are among the most refined. The fiery red for the Sérusier who adorned the dining room of Georges Lacombe, the sculptor friend of Alençon, or red in the fall, which dominates the cycle of The Legend of saint Hubert composed by Maurice Denis for the office of a baron and politician in paris. The yellow gold of Women at the source that Sérusier deployed again for Lacombe or green celadon of Eternal summer that Denis provided for the music room of the intendant of the imperial theatre of Wiesbaden. Covered in a stunning gradation of blue, the bedroom is another of these machines dreamlike to fade more surreal.

Cadet Gauguin become masters in their turn, the nabis were abolished wherever they could the border between painting and the applied arts. With them, art should be total. Hence the presence in the showcases of fans, wallpaper, tableware, tapestries, cigar boxes and furniture, and everyday objects, also their invention. Down from his pedestal, the art now has the function to contribute to the happiness of each, in the same way as air or food. Such is the optimistic definition.

“The nabis and the decor”, Musée du Luxembourg 19 rue de Vaugirard (Life). Tel.: 01 40 13 62 00. Opening hours: everyday from 10 h 30 to 19 h, lun. up to 22 h. Until 30 June. Catalog: ML, 192 p., 39 €.