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  • Pierre Bonnard
    Oct 03, 1867 - Jan 23, 1947
  • The Bathtub - 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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The Bathtub
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  • The Bathtub

  • Pierre Bonnard
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  • La Baignoire, executed in 1942, is an exquisite rendition of the most important subject of Bonnard's mature career. From the turn of the century until his death, the artist continuously returned to depicting the female figure in the intimate setting of the bathroom. Executed in luminous tones of yellows and pinks, the present work is a superbly rare work on paper. Bonnard’s female figures were usually posed in domestic settings in various states of undress—preparing for or after their bath. Commenting on the present work, Sargy Mann has described it as being: "an exceptional work in Bonnard’s oeuvre; a gouache completely reworked in pastel" (quoted in Bonnard at Le Bosquet (exhibition catalogue), Hayward Gallery, London, 1994, p. 93).
    In La Baignoire Bonnard has created a strong composition by cropping the scene to focus on his main subject, his female sitter. The surface of the sheet is enlivened by the decorative pattern created by the curtain which creates a foil for the chequered tiles in the background and the scintillating body of the figure emerging in the foreground. Between these bold designs, the bather is interposed; her body refracted by the water, her nudity emphasized and sensualized. As stated by Sarah Whitfield in her discussion of Bonnard’s art: "Bonnard’s paintings are about the intimacy of contact: the contact made by the eye and the hand, the contact of light as it catches of brushes a surface, the intimacy of the contact between painter and paint" (quoted in Bonnard (exhibition catalogue), Tate Gallery, London & The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1998, p. 25). The voyeurism of the present work and the exploration of the nude in the bathroom, an interest in the unselfconscious woman in her own domestic space, is element in Bonnard’s work shared with the iconic interpretations of Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

    La Baignoire is one of eleven gouaches commissioned by Louis Carré in 1942 for a set of lithographs put onto stone created by Jacques Villon between 1942 and 1946.

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Other paintings by Pierre Bonnard:

Cinq Personnages
Cinq Personnages
Woman at a Table
Woman at a Table
La Promenade (The Walk)
La Promenade (The Walk)
The Bathing near the Boat
The Bathing near the Boat
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.