Pierre Bonnard

1867–1947

Pierre Bonnard, 'The Bath' 1925
The Bath 1925
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2016
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Biography

R.B. Kitaj, 'Mort' 1966
R.B. Kitaj
Mort 1966
© The estate of R. B. Kitaj

Pierre Bonnard (French: [bɔnaʁ]; 3 October 1867 — 23 January 1947) was a French painter and printmaker, as well as a founding member of the Post-Impressionist group of avant-garde painters Les Nabis. Bonnard preferred to work from memory, using drawings as a reference, and his paintings are often characterized by a dreamlike quality. The intimate domestic scenes, for which he is perhaps best known, often include his wife Marthe de Meligny.

Bonnard has been described as "the most thoroughly idiosyncratic of all the great twentieth- century painters", and the unusual vantage points of his compositions rely less on traditional modes of pictorial structure than voluptuous color, poetic allusions and visual wit. Identified as a late practitioner of Impressionism in the early 20th century, Bonnard has since been recognized for his unique use of color and his complex imagery. "It’s not just the colors that radiate in a Bonnard", writes Roberta Smith, "there’s also the heat of mixed emotions, rubbed into smoothness, shrouded in chromatic veils and intensified by unexpected spatial conundrums and by elusive, uneasy figures."

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