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Artists Pierre Bonnard
Pierre Bonnard Photo

Pierre Bonnard

French Painter and Printmaker

Movements and Styles: Post-Impressionism, Les Nabis, Symbolism

Born: October 3, 1867 - Fontenay-aux-Roses, France

Died: January 23, 1947 - Le Cannet, France

Pierre Bonnard Timeline

Quotes

"a figure should be a part of the background against which it is placed."
Pierre Bonnard
"Draw you pleasure, paint your pleasure, and express your pleasure strongly."
Pierre Bonnard
"I have all my subjects to hand .. I go back and look at them. I take notes. Then I go home. And before I start painting I reflect, I dream."
Pierre Bonnard
"One does not always sing out of happiness."
Pierre Bonnard
"Color does not add a pleasant quality to design - it reinforces it."
Pierre Bonnard
"A painting that is well composed is half-finished."
Pierre Bonnard

"Art is not nature.. There was a lot more to be got out of color."

Pierre Bonnard Signature

Synopsis

Pierre Bonnard was a member of the Symbolist group of painters known as Les Nabis ("prophets" or "seers"), and so subscribed to the Nabi doctrine of abandoning three-dimensional modeling in favor of flat color areas. However, although Bonnard was a member of this group, he was not interested in obscure Symbolist subject matter and was not a mystic. Instead, he was satisfied - even fascinated and delighted by - the scenes of simple daily life around him. Because of this, he has been called an "intimist."

Key Ideas

For Bonnard, color was an end in itself - a way of experiencing the world. Color was so important to Bonnard that when he had mixed a color that was particularly to his liking, he would even go back and touch up other paintings with that color. He once persuaded his friend Édouard Vuillard to distract one of the guards in a museum while he touched up a work that had been completed years previously.
Bonnard painted many of his scenes from memory, capturing the spirit of the moment rather than the exact person or place. Bonnard did not paint from life but rather drew his subjects - sometimes photographing them as well - and made notes on the colors. He then painted - and especially, colored - the canvas in his studio from his notes.
Bonnard also designed furniture, developed textile patterns, painted screens, created stage sets, made puppets for puppet shows, and illustrated books. Though he is most noted for his paintings, these additional activities also situate him squarely within that part of Nabi art that applied their aesthetic to other art forms; this aspect of his practice reflects both that period's interest in the decorative as a way to unify the environment through largely abstract means and artists' interest in serving the needs of public spaces, including the burgeoning field of advertising.

Biography

Pierre Bonnard Photo

Childhood, Early Training

Bonnard was born in Fontenay-aux-Roses, Hauts-de-Seine, on October 3, 1867. He was the son of a prominent official of the French Ministry of War, and upon the insistence of his father, Bonnard studied law at the Sorbonne from 1885 to 1888. He graduated with a Baccalaureate, distinguishing himself in the Classics, and briefly practiced as a barrister in a government office. However, he had also attended art classes at the École des Beaux-Arts, where he failed to win the Prix de Rome (which would have allowed him to study at the French Academy in Rome), and so transferred to the Académie Julian in 1889, where he met Maurice Denis, Paul Sérusier, Ker-Xavier Roussel, Paul Ranson, Félix Vallotton, and Édouard Vuillard. He soon decided to become an artist, and in 1890 shared a studio in Montmartre with Denis and Vuillard. Later they were joined by theatrical producer Aurélian Lugné-Poe with whom Bonnard collaborated on productions for the Théâtre de l'Oeuvre in Paris.

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Pierre Bonnard Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Pierre Bonnard
Interactive chart with Pierre Bonnard's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Johannes VermeerJohannes Vermeer
Pierre-Auguste RenoirPierre-Auguste Renoir
Paul GauguinPaul Gauguin

Personal Contacts

Claude MonetClaude Monet
Pierre-Auguste RenoirPierre-Auguste Renoir
Maurice DenisMaurice Denis
Édouard VuillardÉdouard Vuillard

Movements

SymbolismSymbolism
Art NouveauArt Nouveau
JaponismJaponism
ImpressionismImpressionism

Influences on Artist
Pierre Bonnard
Pierre Bonnard
Years Worked: 1889 - 1947
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Henri de Toulouse-LautrecHenri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Henri MatisseHenri Matisse

Personal Contacts

Felix FeneonFelix Feneon
Ambroise VollardAmbroise Vollard

Movements

FauvismFauvism
Les NabisLes Nabis

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