Pierre Bonnard

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Bonnard, Pierre

(pyĕr bônärd`), 1867–1947, French painter, lithographer, and illustrator. In the 1890s he was associated with the NabisNabis
[Heb.,=prophets], a group of artists in France active during the 1890s. Paul Sérusier and Maurice Denis were the principal theorists of the group. Outstanding members were Édouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard, Aristide Maillol, Félix Vallotton, and the
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. His delight in familiar views of everyday life was transmitted to canvas with joy and gentle fantasy. Sometimes called an intimist, he explored the play of sunlight in domestic interiors in an exuberant style that was extremely close to impressionism (e.g., Bowl of Fruit, 1933; Philadelphia Mus. of Art). His other favorite subjects include landscapes, nudes, and self-portraits. Bonnard also had a reputation as a lithographer; his well-known prints include Daphnis and Chloe (1902). He also designed sets for the stage.


See biography by A. Terasse (1967); exhibition catalogs of the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (1982), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1990), and the Tate Gallery (1998); monograph produced by the Hermitage and the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville Paris (2006); studies by C. Roger-Marx (1952), J. Elliott et al. (1964), A. Fermigier (1970), and N. Watkins (1994).

Bonnard, Pierre


Born Oct. 3, 1867, in Fontenay-aux-Roses; died Jan. 23, 1947, in Le Cannet. French artist.

At the end of the 1880’s, Bonnard studied at the Fine Arts School and the Julian Academy in Paris. He came under the influence of Japanese engravings and P. Gauguin. Bonnard’s landscapes, genre scenes, interiors, nudes, and still lifes (The Beginning of Spring [Little Fauns], 1903–04, Hermitage, Leningrad; and the wall panel Autumn; Garnering Fruit, 1912, Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow), which are related to the decorative qualities of latter-day impressionism (the works of C. Monet and A. Renoir), are distinguished by a lyrical, contemplative quality. His posters and color lithographs, with their stylized contours and sharp drawing, subtle views of Paris of the 1890’s painted in muted colors, and the very light pictures and decorative wall panels painted in the 1900’s and 1910’s, are close to the modern style. Bonnard’s works painted from the 1920’s through the 1940’s are notable for their warm and intense colors.


Terrasse, A. Bonnard. Geneva, 1964.
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