Pierre Bonnard – French 1867-1947

Pierre Bonnard Self Portrait
Self Portrait, ca. 1889
Pierre Bonnard was born in Fontenay-aux-Roses. He led a happy and careless youth as the son of a prominent official of the French Ministry of War. At the insistence of his father, Pierre Bonnard studied law, graduating and practising as a barrister briefly. However, he had also attended art classes on the side, and soon decided to become an artist.

In 1891 he met Toulouse-Lautrec and began showing his work at the Salon des Indépendants. His first show was at the Galerie Durand-Ruel in 1896.

In his twenties he was a part of Les Nabis, a group of young artists committed to creating work of symbolic and spiritual nature. Other Nabis include Édouard Vuillard and Maurice Denis. He left Paris in 1910 for the south of France.

Bonnard is known for his intense use of color, especially via areas built with small brushmarks and close values. His often complex compositions—typically of sunlit interiors of rooms and gardens populated with friends and family members—are both narrative and autobiographical. His wife Marthe was an ever present subject over the course of several decades. She is seen seated at the kitchen table, with the remnants of a meal; or nude, as in a series of paintings where she reclines in the bathtub. He also painted several self-portraits, landscapes, and many still lifes which usually depict flowers and fruit.

In 1938 there was a major exhibition of his work along with Vuillard's at the Art Institute of Chicago. He finished his last painting, The Almond Tree in Flower, a week before his death in Le Cannet, on the French Riviera, in 1947. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City organized a posthumous retrospective of Bonnard's work in 1948, although originally it was meant to be a celebration of the artists eightieth birthday.

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Pierre Bonnard by Guillaume Morel – Hardcover: 240 pages; Koenemann (Jul 1, 2019)

Classical on account of his subjects, modern on account of his sense of composition, color, and light, the Nabis painter Pierre Bonnard (1867–1947) followed his path away from the great currents and movements of the first half of the twentieth century. In more than 250 landscapes, portraits, self-portraits, female nudes, interior scenes, and still lifes, this monograph gathers most of the artist's work.

Pierre Bonnard by Evelyn Benesch, Ulf Küster, Pierre Bonnard (Artist) – Hardcover: 176 pages; Hatje Cantz; 1st English edition (May 31, 2012)

Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) concocted gentle deliriums of color in quiet domestic scenes: views of a table set for lunch, a garden view, a woman adjusting a bouquet or, most famously, the artist's wife bathing, all infused with an infectious chromatic delight. "It seemed to me that it was possible to translate light, forms and character using nothing but color," he once wrote, "without recourse to values." Bonnard lavishes his domestic scenes with a palpable tenderness that later led to his style (and that of his colleague Eduoard Vuillard) being dubbed "Intimiste."

Pierre Bonnard: The Late Still Lifes and Interiors (Metropolitan Museum of Art Publications) Dita Amory, Mr. Jack Flam, Remi Labrusse, Jacqueline Munck, Rika Burnham – Hardcover: 208 pages; Metropolitan Museum of Art (Feb 24, 2009)

Working in his villa in the south of France, Pierre Bonnard (1867–1947) suffused his late canvases with radiant Mediterranean light and dazzling color. Although his subjects were close at hand—usually everyday domestic scenes—Bonnard rarely painted from life. Instead, he made pencil sketches in diaries and relied on these, along with his memory, as he executed the works in his studio. These interiors thus often conflate details from the artist’s daily life with fleeting, mysterious evocations of his past. The spectral figures who appear at the margins of the canvases, overshadowed by brilliantly colored baskets of fruit or other props, create an atmosphere of profound ambiguity and puzzling abstraction: the mundane rendered in a wholly new pictorial language.

The 75 paintings, drawings, and watercolors in this volume, some rarely seen treasures from private collections, all made between 1923 and 1947, are central to the ongoing reappraisal of Bonnard as a leading figure of French modernism.

Pierre Bonnard: The Work of Art: Suspending Time by Yve-Alain Bois (Technical Editor) – Hardcover: 400 pages; Ludion (Apr 1, 2006)

Among those painters who incontestably left their mark on twentieth-century art, Bonnard rises to the top again and again. Museums, scholars and viewers regularly return to his oeuvre for reinterpretation, passionate and contradictory, of what it means to be Modern.

In having followed a very personal calling--literally and figuratively interior, particularly compared to the work of friends like Matisse--Bonnard created work as innovative as any of his contemporaries'. His recurring themes--the nude (both classical and erotic), the landscape, domestic life, and the self-portrait--evolve with him from the nineteenth century to the twentieth, from Paris to the south of France, alive with constant reinvention.

Although for Bonnard the subject was always important, his work navigates a sophisticated dialectic between the givens of perception and memory, between the image before our eyes and all that it suggests. This substantial reference includes work from the Hermitage and the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris, which sponsored its publication.

Contributors include Yve-Alain Bois, Sarah Whitfield, and Georges Roque. Photographs from Dina Verny and Henri Cartier-Bresson among others document the era and Bonnard's models as he saw them.

Pierre Bonnard: Observing Nature by Gloria Groom, Ursula Perucchi-Petri, Belinda Thomson, Jorg Zutter, Gloria Lynn Groom, National Gallery of Australia – Paperback: 184 pages; National Gallery of Australia (Jun 1, 2003)

The French artist Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) was a successful painter, draughtsman, photographer, printmaker, illustrator, and interior designer and his works continue to surprise and overwhelm new generations of art lovers. This handsome catalogue brings together more than 110 paintings, drawings, lithographs, and photographs, concentrating on works from both public and private collections, and focusing on the evolution of Bonnard's artistic career in the twentieth century.

It follows the artist's stylistic and iconographic development, giving a comprehensive view of Bonnard's career from his early Nabi works of 1890-1900 to his large decorations of 1905-1912 and his various nudes, portraits and landscapes of the 1920s and 1930s. The book closes with a group of stunning paintings and works on paper—predominantly still lifes, sublime nudes, portraits, and Mediterranean landscapes —created in the late 1930s through World War II.

Pierre Bonnard offers new insights into one of the most complex yet highly consistent artists of the twentieth century whose work was and still is influential on modern painters. From a contemporary perspective, Bonnard appears to many as a profoundly radical artist whose works have an extraordinary power to fascinate and inspire the viewer.

Bonnard by Sarah Whitfield, John Elderfield – Hardcover: 272 pages; Harry N. Abrams (Apr 1998)

It seems somehow revolutionary that a turquoise-blue painting graces the cover of Bonnard, the catalog accompanying a 1998 exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The color of the endpapers—deep yellow—tells readers that even the book designers know with which end of the color spectrum most viewers associate this sensuous painter. The translucent-looking, sun-struck, golden woman in the bathtub—the artist's wife and favorite model—is so emblazoned on our memories that it takes an exhibition like the one documented in this book to remind viewers of Bonnard's extraordinary range as a colorist.

Bonnard: In Search of Pure Color (1984) Color, NTSC
Jun 16, 2000
49 minutes

Bonnard by Nicholas Watkins – Hardcover: 240 pages; Phaidon Press (Jun 1994)

Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia by Guy Cogeval, Isabelle Cahn, Paul-Henri Bourrelier, Jean Clair, Philippe Comar, Marina Ferretti-Bocquillon, Margrit Hahnloser-Ingold, Albert Kostenevitch, Felix Kraemer, Magali Lesauvage, Maria Lopez, Ursula Perucchi-Petri, Eliza Rathbone, Veronique Serrano, Antoine Terrasse – Hardcover: 336 pages; Prestel; 1st edition (Feb 4, 2016)

This lavishly illustrated volume examines the genius of Pierre Bonnard, whose utopian vision bridged both Impressionism and modernism.

Pierre Bonnard by Juliette Rizzi – Paperback: 80 pages; Tate Publishing (Apr 9, 2019)

Born in 1867, French Post-impressionist artist Pierre Bonnard was, with Henri Matisse, one of the greatest colorists of the early 20th century. As a painter, he preferred to work from memory, using drawings as a reference to capture the spirit of a moment and express it through his distinctive handling of color and innovative sense of composition. This accessible and highly illustrated introduction to his life and work, published to accompany a major Tate exhibition, offers readers a special insight into the popular artist and his practice.

Pierre Bonnard: Early and Late by Elizabeth Hutton Turner – Hardcover: 288 pages; Philip Wilson Publishers (May 2, 2003) Best Seller

This major presentation of the work of Pierre Bonnard follows a new line of enquiry reconciling what has previously been seen as two distinct early and creative periods: the Nabis or symbolist Bonnard and the later so-called Impressionist or colorist Bonnard. By uniting representative works from all periods of Bonnard’s life, this book chart’s the artist’s singular pathway and illustrates his highly independent artistic vision. The 130 works illustrated here, including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and sculpture, show that Bonnard continually experimented with alternative media and drew from a range of sources, both Eastern and Western.

The 130 works here illustrated, including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and sculpture, show that Bonnard continually experimented with alternative media and drew from a range of sources, both Eastern and Western. Above all, the book demonstrates Bonnard's overriding and lifelong interest in colour. Three introductory essays explore diverse aspects of Bonnard's work: his aesthetic innovations in light and colour stemming from inventions in photography and film; the influence of Japonisme in his early and late work; and the critical role played by Bonnard's early formative education in Parisian Lycees.

The resulting volume, which accompanies an exhibition at The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., and the Denver Art Museum, is essential for all lovers of the work of Pierre Bonnard and of great value to students and connoisseurs of the history of European modenism.

Bonnard and the Nabis (Temporis) by Albert Kostenevitch – Hardcover: 207 pages; Parkstone Press (Nov 1, 2005)

Pierre Bonnard was the leader of a group of post-impressionist painters who called themselves the Nabis, from the Hebrew word meaning ‘prophet’. Bonnard, Vuillard, Roussel and Denis, the most distinguished of the Nabis, revolutionized the spirit of decorative techniques during one of the richest periods in the history of French painting.

Influenced by Odilon Redon and Puvis de Chavanne, by popular imagery and Japanese etchings, this post-impressionist group was above all a close circle of friends who shared the same cultural background and interests. An increasing individualism in their art often threatened the group’s unity and although tied together by a common philosophy their work clearly diverged. This publication lets us compare and put into perspective the artists within this fascinating group. The works presented in this collection offer a palette of extraordinary poetic expressions: candid in Bonnard, ornamental and mysterious in Vuillard, gently dream-like in Denis, grim and almost in Vallotton, the author shares with us the lives of these artists to the very source of their creative gifts.

Beyond the Easel: Decorative Painting by Bonnard, Vuillard, Denis, and Roussel, 1890-1930 by Gloria Groom Hardcover: 320 pages; Yale University Press (Apr 1, 2001)

Accompanying an exhibition at The Art Institute of Chicago and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, this attractive catalog is the first study to focus on the decorative painting of French artists Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Maurice Denis, and Ker Xavier Roussel, members of the Nabis in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Curator Groom chronicles the formal development of each artist's style as well as the involvement of patrons who commissioned murals and screens for their homes. In his essay, scholar Nicholas Watkins demonstrates how the four artists applied the aesthetic principles of the mural to all types of painting, thus subverting the academic hierarchy of the fine and decorative arts. Drawing parallels with William Morris's Arts and Crafts movement and acknowledging the influences of both Japanese art and the 18th-century French rococo style, Watkins traces the absorption of these artists' abstracted decorative style into early 20th-century modernism and post-World War II avant-garde painting. With beautiful illustrations and a thoughtful text, this book is recommended for all libraries with art collections. Sandra Rothenberg, Framingham State Coll. Lib., MA Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Bonnard: Shimmering Color by Antoine Terrasse, Pierre Bonnard – Paperback: 144 pages; Harry N. Abrams (Nov 1, 2000)

With a text by the artist's grandnephew, Bonnard brings a special intimacy to the exuberant, beautiful domestic interiors, pastoral landscapes, still lifes, and portraits of the French artist Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), whose vibrant, colorful palette drew streams of art lovers to a recent retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Interpreting Bonnard: Color and Light by Nicholas Watkins – Paperback: 80 pages; Stewart Tabori & Chang (Jun 1998)

Pierre Bonnard was a very private painter who confined his subject matter to his wife, his homes, the surrounding countryside, and his self-portraits. This book provides a concise review of Bonnard's life, key works, and the development of his technique. 50 color illustrations.

Bonnard (The World of Art) by Timothy Hyman – Paperback: 224 pages; Thames & Hudson (May 1998)

Bonnard's greatest works explore his claustrophobic relationship with his wife; in his seventies he also completed some of the most poignant self-portraits in Western art. This book shows how his greatest works sometimes emerged from terrible circumstances. 169 illustrations. 50 in color.

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