Monday 25 July 2011

Pierre Bonnard - part 1

This is the first of a four-part post on the French artist Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947). The feature Bonnard’s paintings, lithographs, and lesser known commercial art.

Bonnard was born in 1867 in Fontenay-aux-Roses, France. He began studying law in Paris in 1887. In the same year he also attended the Académie Julian, and in 1888 entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where he met Ker-Xavier Roussel and Edouard Vuillard, who became his lifelong friends. Bonnard gave up law to become an artist, and, after brief military service, he joined the group of young painters called the Nabis (the prophets) in 1889, which was organized by Paul Sérusier and included Maurice Denis, Paul Ranson, Roussel, Vuillard, and others. The Nabis, influenced by Paul Gauguin and Japanese prints, experimented with arbitrary colour, expressive line, a wide range of mediums, and flat, patterned surfaces.

In 1890 Bonnard shared a studio with Vuillard and Denis, and he began to make colour lithographs. In the following year, 1891, he met Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and had his first show at the Salon des Indépendants and in the Nabis’s earliest exhibitions at Le Barc de Boutteville. He exhibited with the Nabis until they disbanded in 1900. Bonnard worked in a variety of mediums – he frequently made posters and illustrations for La Revue blanche, and in 1895 he designed a stained-glass window for Louis Comfort Tiffany. His first solo show, at the Galerie Durand-Ruel in 1896, included paintings, posters, and lithographs. In 1897 Ambroise Vollard published the first of many albums of Bonnard’s lithographs and illustrated books.

In 1903 Bonnard participated in the first Salon d’Automne and in the Vienna Secession, and from 1906 he was represented by Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris. He travelled abroad extensively and worked at various locations in Normandy, the Seine valley, and the south of France (he bought a villa in Le Cannet near Cannes in 1925), as well as in Paris. The Art Institute of Chicago mounted a major exhibition of the work of Bonnard and Vuillard in 1933, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, organized Bonnard retrospectives in 1946 and 1964. Bonnard died on January 23, 1947, in Le Cannet, France.

1891 Woman with Dog

1894 Woman Washing her Feet

c1894 Two Dogs in a Deserted Street

c1899 Table Setting under the Lamp 

1907 In the Bathroom

1907 Woman Bending Over 

1908 In the Mirror

1908 Table in the Garden

c1908-12 Hambourg, Picnic

c1909 Woman in front of a mirror

1910 Girl with Parrot

1912 La Place Clichy

1912 Saint-Tropez, Pier

1912 Summer in Normandy

1912 Summer, Dance

1912 Woman with Cat

c1912-14 Lane at Vernonnet

1914 La Toilette

1915 Coffee

c1916-20 Earthly Paradise

1919 Nude in Front of the Mantlepiece

1919 The Bowl of Milk

c1919 Bathing Woman, Seen from the Back

1920 Balcony at Vernonnet

1920 Interior with a Woman in a Wicker Chair

1921 The Open Window

 In part 2: more paintings from 1921 and 1946.

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