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Until 20th july 2015 at Musée d’Orsay, Paris
The exhibition Peindre l’Arcadie at the Musée d’Orsay presents the sensitive and colourful work by artist Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947). This enchanting retrospective brings together exceptional pieces coming from London and New York, some of which belong to private collections. To the delight of the viewer, the intimate themes, dear to the artist, such as portraits, bathroom or garden scenes are unveiled with virtuosity.
Pierre Bonnard belongs to a generation, which has succeeded the Impressionist ideal. His first paintings are of Japanese influence. In 1890, Bonnard discovers Japanese prints at the Ecole des Beaux Arts exhibition and develops a passion, which subsequently influenced his artistic production for the next ten years: shallow perspective, pattern multiplication and a synthetic vision will feature throughout his career.
Right from the start of his career, Bonnard insisted to be regarded as a decorative artist. Like his friend, the painter Edouard Vuillard, his interior scenes do not relate anything remarkable. Bonnard dislikes ostentatious subjects, as frequently used by the Academy, and lets his unique and sensitive gaze on the world wander around him, trying to capture ephemeral moments. The recurring occurrence of themes and models guides us into the painter’s intimacy. The forever-young body of his wife Martha inhabits most of his paintings. A tender and poetic dialogue forms between his works across those connecting repetitions.
For Pierre Bonnard, the colour and its vibration can express everything. “It appeared to me that it was possible to bring light, form and character, just with colour”. The artist’s palette is relatively limited, yet his combinations of different colour-tones are infinite. In June 1908, Bonnard made his first extended stay on the French Riviera. This ‘visual choc’ had a great impact on his work and enriched his palette. “In the Mediterranean light everything becomes clear”.
The retrospective of the Musée d’Orsay takes us on a magical journey to the heart of the intimate. Pierre Bonnard ‘simply’ seeks to express something personal, yet his singular view exalts the world around him.