One of the most renowned French painters & printmakers, Pierre Bonnard was especially famous for his ingenious experimentation with color. He though, was not revolutionary in his style of painting, but he definitely was a master in portraying human emotions through colors. His fluency with colors fetched critical acclaim and appreciation from all art lovers.
Pierre Bonnard was born on October 03, 1867, in Fontenay-aux-Roses near Paris, to a highly placed French Ministry official. His childhood was therefore, spent in luxury and accordingly he had a very careless and idyllic youth. Due to parental pressure, Bonnard graduated in law and practiced briefly. He however, was always interested in art and took extra courses for the same during his free time. On March 11, 1887, he enrolled at the Scole des Beaux-Arts and resolved to be a full time artist.
In his youth, Pierre Bonnard co-founded a group of young 'Symbolic' and 'Spiritual' artists, called Les Nabis. He exhibited his works as a Nabi in the Gallery of Le Barc de Boutteville. During this phase, he heavily experimented with patterns in textile & furniture, while also exhibiting a Japanese effect in his work. His friends even lovingly called him 'a highly Nipponized Nabi.' In March and April 1891, Pierre first exhibited his work at the Société des Artistes Independants, gathering the much-needed support from all art critics. From then on, he exhibited yearly with the society.
In 1893, Pierre married Marthe de Méligny, who later modeled for a majority of his paintings. He obsessively portrayed her in her routine activities, stretching up to covering her nude. His works post marriage, therefore, turned quite personal in essence. Some of the famous paintings of those times include "Indolence" (1899) and "Man and Woman" (1900). In 1896, he had his first solo show at Galerie Durand-Ruel. Here, the great French artist Toulouse-Lautrec appreciated his award- winning poster. In 1910, Pierre left Paris for Southern France.
All the while, the painting range of the artist spanned from portraits to still life and landscapes. Bonnard would transform the mundane, simplest day-to-day objects into vibrating, iridescent, faintly represented subjects in his paintings. Small brush strokes imparted a marked influence of 'Surreal' mystery in them. The distinctive thing about Bonnard's paintings was the genuine time warp in them. The same objects in the room, such as tablecloths, teapots, and platters, rotated through the paintings. The subjects looked faint, creating a bizarre mystery. Some such renowned paintings are "The White Interior" (1932), "Still Life with Fruit" (1936), "The Dining Room in the Country" (1913), "Woman in Front of a Mirror" (1908), and "The Terrasse Family" (1902).
The artist died on January 23, 1947, leaving behind a great legacy of art. Pierre's passion for art is evident in his use of color with much vivacity and emotions. In 1998, his works were exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The series of his paintings was titled, "Pierre Bonnard: The Late Interiors." He once quoted, "Before you add color, you must see things once, or see them a thousand times."
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