In the autumn, the Musée Maillol is holding an exhibition of more than a hundred works from the fascinating, dreamy, unique, and rich world of the ‘Naïve’ artists. Called ‘modern primitives’ by one of their ardent supporters, the collector and art critic Wilhelm Uhde (1874–1947), these artists renewed painting in their own way, independently from the avant-garde artists and without academicism.

Brought together for the first time in Paris, their brightly coloured works shed light on an inter-war period in the history of art that is ofte overlooked. Based on Henri Rousseau and Séraphine Louis, the exhibition aims to highlight a constellation of overlooked artists such as André Bauchant, Camille Bombois, Ferdinand Desnos, Jean Ève, René Rimbert, Dominique Peyronnet, and Louis Vivin.

The exhibition will highlight—via a thematic itinerary—the pictorial qualities of these artists, beyond biographical accounts, which have for a long time been the only source of information about them. A selection of amazing revolutionary works, from major public collections (Musée d'Orsay, Musée de l’Orangerie, Musée Picasso, Centre Pompidou, LAM, Kunsthaus Zurich, Kunsthalle Hamburg) and private collections, will highlight each artist’s great formal inventiveness, without overlooking the links they maintained with pictorial tradition and contemporary art.

By combining a historical, analytical, and perceptive approach to the works and their presentation in the exhibition, the Musée Maillol will unveil the subversive dimension of Naïve art and will present these Naïve, primitive, modern, or anti-modern artists as great artists who ran counter to the avant-garde artists.