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  • Pierre Bonnard
    Oct 03, 1867 - Jan 23, 1947
  • Autumn Morning (The Great View of Vernon) - Pierre Bonnard was a French painter who helped provide a bridge between impressionism and the abstraction explored by post-impressionists. He is known for the bold colors in his work and a fondness for painting elements of everyday life, member of the group of artists called the Nabis and afterward a leader of the Intimists; he is generally regarded as one of the greatest colourists of modern art.
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Autumn Morning (The Great View of Vernon)
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  • Autumn Morning (The Great View of Vernon)

  • Pierre Bonnard
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  • MATINéE D’AUTOMNE (LA GRANDE VUE DE VERNON)
    circa 1922
    Oil on canvas
    42 3/8 x 51 5/8 in.
    Private Collection, Paris.

    This sprawling panoramic of the idyllic countryside in the Eure Valley was the subject of several of Bonnard’s most impressive canvases of the 1910s and early 1920s. The vista is one that Bonnard encountered on his walks through Vernon, the region surrounding his house “Ma Roulotte.” The artist’s nephew Charles Terrasse described the setting, which is depicted in this monumental painting from 1922: “It stood between the river and the road that led from the village of Vernonnet to Pressagny, like a hyphen between road and river… [Bonnard] described the view from his window, or from the top of the neighboring hill: the pale green and golden fields of early summer; the riverbanks lined with poplars, elms, ash trees, and the silvery patches of willows; the majestic river itself, alive with boars, and blue in the sunshine or lead-gray in the rain” (quoted in Pierre Bonnard, Early and Late, (exhibition catalogue), The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. and the Denver Art Museum, 2003, p. 37).

    The landscapes that Bonnard painted in the 1920s, including the present work, marked a turning point in the artist’s style. As Nicholas Watkins explains, “Bonnard’s art was always very much based on reality, but a distinction can be made between his northern and southern landscapes: whereas in the former he was more concerned with capturing the transient effects of weather, in the latter the permanence of atmosphere drew him into an alternative Mediterranean vision of a classical Golden Age. Cézanne and Renoir, rather than Monet, became his mentors in the south. The greens of his first terrace decoration at Vernon gave way to the pervasive golden light of his two main southern decorations of the 1920s, La Palme, 1926 and Paysage du Cannet, 1928” (Nicholas Watkins, op. cit., p. 156). The present work, which showcases that intense greenery of Vernon, exemplifies the best of this production before the artist headed south for the Midi.

    Through his involvement with the Nabis at the beginning of the century, Bonnard had grown accustomed to using decorative stylistic elements in his paintings, such as flattened patches of color and bold contours. In his depictions of the southern French landscape, his use of this technique was extraordinarily effective in conveying the variations in the terrain. In the present work, he uses interlacing patches of color to form the mountain range, the dense forest and the field in the foreground, with the fluffy-tailed hare running in retreat.

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Other paintings by Pierre Bonnard:

Au Grand-Lemps (Dauphine)
Au Grand-Lemps (Dauphine)
Autumn Landscape (Vernon Surroundings)
Autumn Landscape (Vernon Surroundings)
Autumn: The Fruit Pickers
Autumn: The Fruit Pickers
Avenue du Bois in Boulogne
Avenue du Bois in Boulogne
Pierre BonnardPierre Bonnard was a French Post-Impressionist painter remembered for his ability to convey dazzling light with juxtapositions of vibrant color. “What I am after is the first impression—I want to show all one sees on first entering the room—what my eye takes in at first glance,” he said of his work. Born on October 3, 1867 in Fontenay-aux-Roses, France, Bonnard studied law at the Sorbonne, graduating in 1888. During this time, he was also enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts but left to attend the Académie Julian in 1889. At this more open-minded painting academy, Bonnard met Maurice Denis, Paul Sérusier, and Édouard Vuillard, among others. Together with these artists he helped from a group known as the Nabis, who were influenced by Japanese prints and the use of flat areas of color. Early on in his career, Bonnard was better known for his prints and posters than for his paintings. Moving to the South of France in 1910, over the following decades, Bonnard receded from the forefront of the art world, mainly producing tapestry-like paintings of his wife Marthe in their home. Late works of Bonnard, such as The Terrace at Vernonnet (1939), more closely resembled a continuation of Impressionism than other avant-garde styles of the era. Because of this, at the time of his death on January 23, 1947 in Le Cannet, France, the artist’s work had been largely discounted as regressive. Today, his works are held in the collections of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Neue Pinakothek in Munich, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, and the Tate Gallery in London, among others.