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  • Pierre Bonnard
    Oct 03, 1867 - Jan 23, 1947
  • Cannet Landscape - 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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Cannet Landscape
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  • Cannet Landscape

  • Pierre Bonnard
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    circa 1925
    Oil on canvas
    27 1/2 x 31 1/2 in.
    Private Collection, United States.

    By the time he painted Paysage du Cannet, Bonnard was widely celebrated among the avant-garde, and his paintings were sought after by prominent collectors in America and Europe. In 1926, he bought the Villa du Bosquet above Le Cannet, where he remained for the rest of his life. Bonnard's new estate commanded a magnificent view over the bay of Cannes and the mountains of the Esterel. The lush surroundings and the dazzling light that reflected off the water inspired some of Bonnard's most monumental landscapes, including Paysage du Cannet. This large-scale composition depicts the grounds of the villa as seen from a higher point of elevation.

    The landscapes that Bonnard painted in the late 1920s, including the present work and another composition of a similar view, 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 Vernonnet gave way to the pervasive golden light of his two main southern decorations of the 1920s, La Palme, 1926 and Paysage du Cannet, 1928" (N. Watkins, op. cit., p. 156).

    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. Watkins writes, "Bonnard was struck by the architectural nature of the vegetation in the south, suggesting a way of dealing with the view from Le Cannet in both paintings and drawings through poetic correspondences across the landscape.... Bonnard's solution to the problem of reconciling depth with the decorative assertion of the surface in the painting was to treat the landscape as a kind of tapestry into which the view was woven" (ibid., p. 156).

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Other paintings by Pierre Bonnard:

By the Sea, Under the Pines
By the Sea, Under the Pines
Cabanons au Cannet
Cabanons au Cannet
Carafe, Marthe Bonnard with Her Dog
Carafe, Marthe Bonnard with Her Dog
Carriage Horse
Carriage Horse
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.