Pierre Bonnard

Pierre Bonnard
Le dessert, 1940
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Pierre Bonnard
Le dessert, 1940

The Dessert
Oil on canvas, 46.3 x 65.3 cm
Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel

Pierre Bonnard, who started painting under the influence of Gauguin, was one of the leading members of the Nabis group of artists, before arriving at the impressionistically loose style of painting he would maintain, with little variation, until his death. His paintings are exuberantly colourful; indeed, colour seems to be more important than the subject. The dessert shows a table decorated with fruits. It is at the same time a study on the relationship between luminous yellow, red and blue in different shades. One could imagine that Bonnard was also seeking to appeal, through colour, to the viewer’s sense of taste and smell.

Pierre Bonnard

1867, Fontenay-aux-Roses – 1947, Le Cannet

The French painter, printmaker, illustrator and poster designer studied at the École des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Julian in Paris. Together with Maurice Denis, Paul Sérusier and Édouard Vuillard, he founded the artists’ group Les Nabis in 1889, which was inspired by the work of Paul Gauguin. From 1903 onwards, Bonnard regularly participated in the exhibitions of the Autumn Salon in Paris. His painting style is characterized by broad planes of flat colour which in particular reveal his impressive handling of tonality and light. Bonnard found the subject matter for his work predominantly in scenes of everyday life in Paris, showing a keen interest in small occurrences in the street but also in Japanese woodcuts. From 1907 on, he began to travel regularly, making visits to Holland, Belgium, Great Britain, Italy, Spain and North Africa; on these journeys he produced many of his well-known nudes, landscapes, still lifes and portraits.

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