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Creator Name: Bonnard, Pierre
Creator Nationality: European; French
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1867 - 1947
Biography: Pierre Bonnard was a law student when he began his artistic training in 1887 at the Académie Julian in Paris, where he met Paul Sérusier (1864-1927) and the theorist and painter Maurice Denis (1870-1943). Both would be influential in his artistic career and become Bonnard's lifelong friends. In 1889, the year he obtained his law degree, he saw the exhibition at Café Volpini (see Gauguin, Woman in the Waves, no. 100) and was particularly impressed with Gauguin's (q.v.) work. Sérusier, after having returned from studying with Gauguin in Pont-Aven, decided to form his own artistic group called the Nabis (Hebrew: prophets). The founding members of the Nabis included Denis, who wrote the manifesto for the group, "Définition du néo-traditionnisme" (published in May 1890 in Art et critique), Bonnard, Paul Ranson (1864-1909), and Henri-Gabriel Ibels (1867-1936). Their first exhibition occurred in 1891, and they were later joined by Ker-Xavier Roussel (1867-1944) and Vuillard (q.v.). Based loosely on the synthetist goals established by Gauguin and Émile Bernard, the movement was created from Sérusier's vision of an artistic brotherhood dedicated to symbolism whereby a universal language could be expressed through symbols. The Nabis were opposed to the naturalism taught at academies by artists such as Bouguereau (q.v.) and wanted to move away from didactic and moral paintings toward a more decorative style characterized by simplified drawing, flat patches of color, and heavy set contours. Bonnard's works of the 1890s were influenced by the innovations of Gauguin as well as Japanese prints, which were easily accessible in nineteenth-century Paris. His paintings took on a decorative quality, mirroring his artistic expressions in other media such as stained glass, furniture, pottery, and painted screens. Bonnard's and Vuillard's domestic interior paintings of the 1890s were often described using the term intimisme. In 1891 Bonnard also experimented with other media, including poster designs and lithographs, which inspired his friend Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901), whom he had met through La revue blanche, a magazine that published the Nabis' work. Around 1900 the members of the Nabis began to drift apart. Between 1905 and 1910 Bonnard and Vuillard traveled to England, Belgium, Holland, Spain, and Italy, visiting many museums. Bonnard's art began to gravitate toward impressionism, but his colors were more expressive and his compositions more overtly structured; elements of the painted interiors such as doors, windows or pieces of furniture often provided a strong compositional framework. He also worked extensively with photographs. His late works were acclaimed by fellow Parisians like Henri Matisse (1869-1954) and Paul Signac (1863-1935). After 1920 Bonnard exhibited extensively and became an internationally renowned artist, receiving much recognition in the United States, where he traveled in 1926.
Creator Birth Place: Fontenay-aux-Roses, 3 October 1867
Creator Death Place: Le Cannet, 23 January 1947
Creator Name-CRT: Pierre Bonnard
Title: The Dessert, or After Dinner
Title Type: Primary
Title: Le dessert, or Après le dîner
Title Type: Foreign
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1915
Creation End Date: 1925
Creation Date: c. 1920
Object Type: Paintings
Materials and Techniques: oil on fabric
Dimensions: Framed: 113.5cm x 118cm x 7cm, Unframed: 76.2cm x 80cm
Inscriptions: Signed dark red at lower left: Bonnard
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1949.18
Credit Line: Gift of the Hanna Fund
Copyright: ? Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Provenance: A. Kapferer. Galerie Pétridès, Paris, by 1932. Paul Rosenberg & Co., New York. Purchased by the CMA in February 1949.
Context: In this scene of two figures lingering over coffee and dessert, the woman leaning on her elbows at the far right is Marthe Bonnard, the artist's wife and favorite model. The smoking boy has not been identified. The painting is not about these individuals, however. Rather it explores the simple pleasures of daily life. Light streams into the room from the right to illuminate the gleaming china and the central still life of fruit, rendered with delicately dappled light and greedily eyed by a brown dog. Meanwhile, the casual clutter of china and fruit, along with the crystal vase and exotic flowers on the sideboard, serve as vehicles for the painter's exploration of color. The picture may have been painted either at Bonnard's country house at Vernon, just north of Paris, or at his summer home near Cannes in southern France.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1949.18
AMICA Library Year: 2001
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art
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