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  • Pierre Bonnard
    Oct 03, 1867 - Jan 23, 1947
  • la Charmille - 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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la Charmille
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  • la Charmille

  • Pierre Bonnard
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  • 1901
    Oil on panel
    Private Collection, Switzerland.

    From 1900, as Pierre Bonnard spent more time outside the city, the beauty of nature became the dominant focus of his work. This increasing engagement with the natural world was accompanied by a corresponding loosening of his ties with the Nabis circle and their search to free form and colour from their traditional descriptive functions in order to express emotions and spiritual truths. During this formative period Bonnard developed a luminous and subjective style that built on the Impressionists’ use of colour, whilst, retaining the original emphasis on the flat, decorative purpose of painting that was the legacy of his Nabis association.

    La charmille is a wonderful early example of Bonnard’s engagement with the garden motif. The influence of the Nabis style is visible: In the present work Bonnard abandons perspective almost completely, emphasising the opulent surface texture through varied brushstrokes, whilst figures and background are seemingly merged into single plane. Bonnard’s attempt to capture nature’s rich and ever changing nuances through the use of a varied palette of rich greens, in combination with short brush strokes, is a testament to the influence of Impressionism. The theme of the garden itself is owed to this influence: Claude Monet found his garden to be an inexhaustible source of inspiration, and Bonnard and Monet maintained very close relations, living from 1912 in close proximity to Giverny and Vernonnet.

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Other paintings by Pierre Bonnard:

Marine dans un Port du Midi
Marine dans un Port du Midi
Cabanons au Cannet
Cabanons au Cannet
Fruit Basket 1921
Fruit Basket 1921
My Roulotte in Vernonnet
My Roulotte in Vernonnet
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.