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Pierre Bonnard

Pierre Bonnard

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Pierre Bonnard was a French painter
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

 and printmaker, as well as a founding member of Les Nabis
Les Nabis
Les Nabis were a group of Post-Impressionist avant-garde artists who set the pace for fine arts and graphic arts in France in the 1890s. Initially a group of friends interested in contemporary art and literature, most of them studied at the private art school of Rodolphe Julian in Paris in the...

.

Biography


Bonnard was born in Fontenay-aux-Roses
Fontenay-aux-Roses
Fontenay-aux-Roses is a commune in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.École Normale Supérieure was a girls school located in the area....

, Hauts-de-Seine
Hauts-de-Seine
Hauts-de-Seine is designated number 92 of the 101 départements in France. It is part of the Île-de-France region, and covers the western inner suburbs of Paris...

. He led a happy and carefree youth as the son of a prominent official of the French Ministry of War. At the insistence of his father, 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 annual exhibition of the Société des Artistes Indépendants
Société des Artistes Indépendants
—The Société des Artistes Indépendants formed in Paris in summer 1884 choosing the device "No jury nor awards" . Albert Dubois-Pillet, Odilon Redon, Georges Seurat and Paul Signac were among its founders...

. His first show was at the Galerie Durand-Ruel in 1896.

In his twenties he was a part of Les Nabis
Les Nabis
Les Nabis were a group of Post-Impressionist avant-garde artists who set the pace for fine arts and graphic arts in France in the 1890s. Initially a group of friends interested in contemporary art and literature, most of them studied at the private art school of Rodolphe Julian in Paris in the...

, a group of young artists committed to creating work of symbolic and spiritual nature. Other Nabis include Édouard Vuillard
Édouard Vuillard
Jean-Édouard Vuillard was a French painter and printmaker associated with the Nabis.-Early years and education:...

 and Maurice Denis
Maurice Denis
Maurice Denis was a French painter and writer, and a member of the Symbolist and Les Nabis movements. His theories contributed to the foundations of cubism, fauvism, and abstract art.-Childhood and education:...

. He left Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 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-portrait
Self-portrait
A self-portrait is a representation of an artist, drawn, painted, photographed, or sculpted by the artist. Although self-portraits have been made by artists since the earliest times, it is not until the Early Renaissance in the mid 15th century that artists can be frequently identified depicting...

s, landscapes
Landscape art
Landscape art is a term that covers the depiction of natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, and forests, and especially art where the main subject is a wide view, with its elements arranged into a coherent composition. In other works landscape backgrounds for figures can still...

, and many still life
Still life
A still life is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural or man-made...

s which usually depict flowers and fruit.

Bonnard did not paint from life but rather drew his subject—sometimes photographing it as well—and made notes on the colors. He then painted the canvas in his studio from his notes.

In 1938 there was a major exhibition of his work along with Vuillard's at the Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is one of America's largest accredited independent schools of art and design, located in the Loop in Chicago, Illinois. It is associated with the museum of the same name, and "The Art Institute of Chicago" or "Chicago Art Institute" often refers to either...

.
He finished his last painting, The Almond Tree in Flower, a week before his death in his cottage on La Route de Serra Capeou near Le Cannet
Le Cannet
Le Cannet is a commune of the Alpes-Maritimes department in southeastern France.-Location:Le Cannet is located on the north of Cannes, on the French Riviera...

, on the French Riviera
French Riviera
The Côte d'Azur, pronounced , often known in English as the French Riviera , is the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France, also including the sovereign state of Monaco...

, in 1947. The Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art is an art museum in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, on 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It has been important in developing and collecting modernist art, and is often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world...

 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 artist's eightieth birthday.

Two major exhibitions of Bonnard's work took place in 1998: February through May at the Tate Gallery
Tate Gallery
The Tate is an institution that houses the United Kingdom's national collection of British Art, and International Modern and Contemporary Art...

 in London, and from June through October at the Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art is an art museum in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, on 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It has been important in developing and collecting modernist art, and is often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world...

 in New York City.

Gallery



External links