Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bonnard, Pierre

Model in Backlight
oil on canvas
125 x 109 cm (49.21 x 42.91 in)
Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium

“Painting has to get back to its original goal, examining the inner lives of human beings.” (Bonnard)
Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947) was a French painter, and a founding member of Les Nabis, a group of young artists committed to creating work of symbolic and spiritual nature.
He, sometimes called an intimist, is known for his intense use of color. He did not paint from life but rather drew his subject, sometimes photographing it as well, and made notes on the colors. He then painted the canvas in his studio from his notes. Still, his often complex compositions, typically of sunlit interiors of rooms and gardens populated with friends and family members, are both narrative and autobiographical.
The process of making a painting would extend over months, even years. He was deeply conscious of the complexities of visual perception: He carefully plotted his paintings, so that what is seen in them depends upon the active participation of the viewer, as happens when we perceive scenes in the world.

He led a happy and carefree youth as the son of a prominent official of the French Ministry of War. At the insistence of his father, he studied law, graduating and practicing as a barrister briefly. However, he had also attended art classes on the side, and soon decided to become an artist.
His wife Marthe is an ever-present subject and is seen seated at the kitchen table or nude as in a series of these paintings.