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Andr� Ostier, Pierre Bonnard, 1941, silver gelatin photograph (Detail)
Introduction | Gallery | Literature | Chronology | Glossary | Education Kit NGA logo
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8 works found
Pierre BONNARD | In front of the Window at Le Grand-Lemps [Devant la fenêtre au Grand-Lemps] | 1923
Pierre BONNARD | Place Clichy [La Place Clichy] | 1912
Pierre BONNARD | Pleasure: Decorative Panel, or Games [Le Plaisir: Panneau décoratif ou Les Jeux] | c. 1906
Pierre BONNARD | Siesta [La Sieste] | 1900
Pierre BONNARD | Street Scene (Montage of Ideas) [Scène de rue Décoration comportant des idées de tableaux] | c. 1905
Pierre BONNARD | The Terrasse Family [La Famille Terrasse] | c. 1902
Pierre BONNARD | Woman Bending Over [Toilette ou Femme Penchèe] | 1907
Pierre BONNARD | Woman in front of a mirror [Femme devant un miroir] | c.1908
All Galleries | Paris | Le Grand-Lemps | Vernonnet | Le Cannet |

Le Grand-Lemps

The Bonnard family spent holidays in their house, Le Clos [The Enclosure], at Le Grand-Lemps in the Dauphiné, a rural region between Lyons and Grenoble. Bonnard’s stays there resulted in genre paintings, landscapes and photographs — recording his family at leisure.

Where Paris represented sophistication, ambition and encounters with all kinds of people, Bonnard’s experience at Le Grand-Lemps was just the opposite, and in that environment he developed his ideas for large-scale densely packed landscapes and the decorative schemes for which he received commissions from about 1900.

Décoration

Together with his Nabi friends, Bonnard’s creative ventures extended beyond easel painting to designing folding screens, furniture, ceramics and posters. He became sought-after as a painter of decorative panels depicting landscapes, parks, squares, boulevards or more fanciful subjects. These decorative works expanded the scope of traditional easel painting, often forming a large composite iconographic scheme conceived to fit a particular interior.

In 1910 the art critic, Louis Vauxcelles, enthusiastically summarised Bonnard’s decorative works:

M. Bonnard is fantasy, instinct, ingenuous spontaneity, French charm, both tender and mischievous. He delights the eye with attenuated colour harmonies suggesting the tones of faded tapestries, and iridescent pearly skin in semidarkness. His panels depict a thousand stories as entertaining as the thousand and one nights, portrayed with energy.

Nudes

Bonnard’s approach to the female body was unorthodox and openly sensual. In sharp contrast to his depictions of bourgeois country life, leisure and children’s games in the garden of Le Clos, Bonnard painted almost risqué images of nudes. In his Paris studio, and in the house he had rented outside the city at Morval, Bonnard painted his lover and muse Marthe (Maria Boursin, whom he met in 1893, but did not marry until 1925). He took photographs of Marthe to serve as studies for paintings where she is depicted in various poses, but always (even in paintings as late as 1940) with a slender body, long legs, narrow waist and firm breasts — and very often in the bathroom.

Introduction | Gallery | Literature | Chronology | Glossary | Education Kit
The Pierre Bonnard works on this page are reproduced with the permission of
ADAGP, Paris and VISCOPY Ltd, Sydney 2003.