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Nabis

pronounced nah-bee. A group of artists, formed in France in the 1880s, who named themselves after the Hebrew word for ‘prophets’. Common features of their style, inspired by Paul Gauguin (1848–1903), include the use of non-naturalistic colour, stylisation in drawing and design, and emphasis on the picture plane. Artists include Paul Sérusier (1863–1927), Maurice Denis (1870–1943), Pierre Bonnard (1867–1947), Édouard Vuillard (1868–1940), Félix Vallotton (1865–1925). See also stylise.

naivety

also naïveté, a term that usually refers to works produced by artists (also called naïfs) who had no formal training. Some trained artists, however, have deliberately used a naive style: see faux-naïf. See also art brut and primitive.

narrative

a story, whether true or not; art that represents elements of a story.

naturalism

generally means to depict things as they appear in nature, without stylising or making abstract. See also stylise, abstract art and realism.

neo-expressionism

a revival of painting in an expressionist style in the late 20th century after the dominance of conceptual art and minimalism in the 1970s. See expressionism.

neo-plasticism

used to describe the abstract art of Dutch artists Piet Mondrian (1872–1944) and other De Stijl artists, which used only primary colours (red, yellow, blue) and black, white and grey, straight horizontal and vertical lines and rectangles.

neoclassicism

a movement that emerged in the mid 18th century as a reaction to the fussy excesses of rococo and the motion of baroque art. It aimed to revive the styles of ancient Greece and Rome.

New Objectivity (Neue Sachlichkeit)

a German art movement of the 1920s. In painting it was characterised by the bitter realism of George Grosz (1893–1959) and Otto Dix (1891–1969). In photography, the objective approach was evident in the landscapes of Albert Renger-Patzsch (1897–1966), the plant studies of Karl Blossfeldt (1865–1932) and the portraits of August Sander (1876–1964).

New Sculpture

British sculpture movement of the late 19th century, influenced by Symbolism, art nouveau and neoclassicism. Artists include Frederic Leighton (1830–1896), Bertram Mackennal (1863–1931), Alfred Gilbert (1854–1934).

nocturne

a picture of a night scene.

non-figurative art

non-representational art

Nouveau Réalisme

literally ‘New Realism’ in French, this art movement was founded in 1960 and aimed to describe contemporary reality directly and in a new way. Championed by the critic Pierre Restany, it included Yves Klein and Arman as well as other artists.