Ah… Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), that man could paint.

Bonnard, Pierre, The Open Window, 1921, Oil on canvas; 46 1/2 x 37 3/4 in. Phillips Collection

Bonnard, Pierre, The Open Window, 1921, Oil on canvas; 46 1/2 x 37 3/4 in. Phillips Collection

So reading up on various artists, here’s what I’ve learned about Pierre Bonnard as of late.  I was captured by his paintings some years back when I discovered the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C. (Their website: http://www.phillipscollection.org/)

Here are some tid-bits of wisdom I gained while reading a big yellow book on him:

•   He is a”Nabis”; which was a group of painters that focused on decorative elements within their art.  They believed being true to the fact that art was a decorative medium (he clearly was not a “conceptual artist” and would have some trouble in getting in some MFA programs in our day and age).

•  He focused upon painting:  women, exteriors, or looking at exteriors from interiors, women at “toilet” (this is women bathing, or in the bathroom, not what you may be thinking…), and integrating classic elements into his work.

•  Interested in form, structure, pattern, and order was very important in his compositions.

•  Initially very affected by the flatness of Japanese prints (like many Impressionists and Post-Impressionists).  He also liked Gauguin’s work (Gauguin’s paintings I like, but as a person…bluch).

Bonnard, Pierre, Woods in Summer, 1927, Oil on canvas; 26 x 23 1/2 in.; Phillips Collection

Bonnard, Pierre, Woods in Summer, 1927, Oil on canvas; 26 x 23 1/2 in.; Phillips Collection

•  Criticized that his work was “charming” but formless (they can be a buzz of color, but hey – you will always have critics).

•  Concerned with an earthly paradise deeply rooted in cultural memory (Well, and he was enjoying his home in the north of France AND the south of France – you can’t beat that for earthly paradise!).

•  Antisocial.  Lived with his common-law wife “Marthe” for the majority of his life.  (She is the woman in 90% of his paintings – apparently she had some depression/emotional difficulties and tended to isolate herself as well). They would get married later on in life after Bonnard had an affair.

•  Made a living as a painter (How about that! It happens folks).

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About abiggerworldyet

Visual Artist Brother Sojourner College Professor Christ follower
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