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Art Boutique - a Supergallery for French Art Prints and Framing


Nude in the Bath and Small Dog

"Nude in the Bath and Small Dog"
by Pierre Bonnard
Carnegie Museum of Art,


Pierre Bonnard {baw-nar'}, b. Oct. 3, 1867, d. Jan. 23, 1947, began his long painting career in Paris in the early 1890s. He was one of the first artists to use pure color in flat patterns enlivened by decorative linear arabesques in paintings, posters, and designs for stained-glass windows and books. Together with his friend Edouard Vuillard and the other members of the group known as the Nabis (Hebrew for "prophets"), he helped establish a new, modern style of decoration that was important for the emergence of Art Nouveau in the late 1890s.

The paintings of Paul Gauguin and Claude Monet done in the late 1880s were the principal source for the new style of the Nabis. Bonnard, "the very Japanese Nabi," also drew on Japanese prints for his striking simplifications of form and his bold use of bright colors. In 1894, however, he turned to more somber colors and restricted his subject matter to intimate views of domestic life. When, around 1900, he again began to use bright hues, he adopted the impressionist broken brushstroke and abandoned the linear configurations of his earlier work.

Place Clichy

"Place Clichy"
by Pierre Bonnard
© Shorewood Fine Art


Throughout the remainder of his career, Bonnard continued and expanded the impressionists' concern for depicting the personal environment of the artist. His naturalism, however, was merely a starting point for striking innovations in color and the construction of perspective. After 1920 intense colors dissolve forms yet celebrate the painter's sensuous delight in the lush southern French landscape and, above all, the beauty of the female nude.

Bonnard's entire stylistic evolution offers a transition from impressionism to a coloristic, abstract art. Critics now recognize the importance of Bonnard's contribution to the development of abstraction. During his lifetime, however, they often found his work old-fashioned, because of his commitment to figuration and the narrow scope of his themes. Dining Room on the Garden (1934-35; Guggenheim Museum, New York) is an excellent example of Bonnard's late style.

Marian Burleigh-Motley, Lecturer, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.
Source: The Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, Release #9.01, ©1997.
Bibliography: Alexander Babin, Pierre Bonnard (1986); André Fermigier, ed., Pierre Bonnard (1969; repr. 1984); Richard Howard, ed. and trans., Bonnard-Matisse: Letters between Friends (1992); Colta Ives, et al., Pierre Bonnard: The Graphic Art (1989); Sasha Newman, et al., Bonnard: The Late Paintings (1984); Antoine Terrasse, Pierre Bonnard: Illustrator (1989); Nicholas Watkins, Bonnard (1994).
Images: "Nude in the Bath and Small Dog" 1941-46 (Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; acquired through the generosity of the Sarah Mellon Scaife Family, 1970); "Place Clichy" (Copyright: © Shorewood Fine Art).
Copyrights Notice and Disclaimer: Images of artists' works displayed throughout this site have been obtained from numerous sources, including digital libraries at educational institutions, educational software, and Mark Harden's Artchive. Credit is attributed when known. Some works are considered to be in the public domain, based on current U.S. and international copyright acts. For more information on copyright laws, please refer to the Artists Rights Society and Benedict O'Mahoney's The Copyright Web Site. [See also: Copyrights.]

Bonnard Links:

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CGFA - Virtual Art Museum
Carol L. Gerten maintains an impressive image library of meticulously scanned works from hundreds of renowned artists, including this collection featuring 3 of Bonnard's paintings.

Smithsonian Magazine
In its July 1998 article, the Smithsonian explores Bonnard's manipulation of light, form and focus in his work, offering views of five paintings.

Do you know of a great Bonnard site we should list here? Please submit it!

Bonnard Quotations:

"(QUOTE #1)" (1)

"(QUOTE #2)" (2)

Sources of Quotations: (1) XXXXX. (2) XXXXX.
[The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations is licensed from Columbia University Press. Copyright © 1993 by Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.]

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