Paul Sérusier was formed at the Julian Academy where he met and befriended Maurice Denis. During the summer of 1888, Sérusier went to Britanny in Pont-Aven where he met Émile Bernard and Paul Gauguin. The latter encouraged Sérusier to abandon the mimetic representation of nature, and to use pure colors as exemplified by Gauguin's sentence "How do you see the trees? They are yellow. Well then, put down yellow. And that shadow is rather blue. So render it with pure ultramarine. Those red leaves? Use vermillion". Of this lesson emerged the Talisman (1888) known as Sérusier's masterpiece and as the initiator of Nabi paintings, which are characterized by a representation of nature not as it is seen but as the artist feels it.
With his œuvre and his new approach of painting - representing a sensation rather than an accurate depiction - Paul Sérusier has been considered as having paved the way for abstraction.
In parallel of his production, Paul Sérusier taught at the Académie Ranson from 1908. He was exhibited at the Salon des artistes français for instance, or at Ambroise Vollard's Gallery or Durand-Ruel's. Nowadays, his artworks are exhibited at the musée d'Orsay, at Pont-Aven's musée des Beaux-Arts, or Washington's National Gallery or Munich Neue Pinakothek.