Paul Ranson

Paul Ranson

Style: Post-Impressionism

Lived: 1864 - February 20, 1909 (19th - 20th century)

Nationality: France


Paul Ranson was born in 1864 in Limoges (France). As the son of a succesful local politician, he received permission to pursue his artistic dreams and Paul Ranson started studying Ecoles des Arts Décoratifs in Limoges but transferred in 1886 to the more prestigious Académie Julian in Paris.

In 1888, at the Académie, Paul Ranson met Paul Sérusier who encouraged him to join his post-impressionist art group Les Nabis. From 1890 onwards Paul Ranson hosted meetings for Les Nabis at his home.


Ranson’s work showed a consistent commitment to the decorative arts: like Maillol he made designs for tapestry, some of which were executed by his wife. His linear, sinuous style, seen in works such as Woman Standing beside a Balustrade with a Poodle (Altschul priv. col., see Post-Impressionism, exh. cat., London, RA, 1979, p. 119), had strong affinities with Japanese prints and with contemporary developments in Art Nouveau design; it was a style suited to a variety of media, stained glass, lithography, ceramics or tapestry.

Ranson tended to favour exotic, symbolic or quasi-religious motifs rather than subjects observed from nature. In his Nabi Landscape of 1890, for example, he sets a variety of obscure feminine symbols within a fantasy landscape. After his early death in 1909 his wife continued to run the Académie Ranson, which they had opened in 1908 to disseminate Nabi aesthetic ideas and techniques to a younger generation. Teaching was undertaken on a voluntary basis by other Nabis, especially Denis and Sérusier.

In 1908, he created the Académie Ranson with his wife France, to teach the Nabi ideas and techniques. After his death, his wife continued to run the academy.


Paul Ranson died in Paris on February 20, 1909.

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