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).
• 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).