Pierre Bonnard (Monography)
Stéphane Guégan, 2023
The reference monograph on Pierre Bonnard. Obsessive Japonist, mischievous intimist, late impressionist, voluptuous nudist, melancholy recorder of everyday life and the passage of time… Attempts aimed at summarizing Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) in a word or a formula have all failed. We also believe we are growing it by making Matisse and Mark Rothko, painters of solar intoxication, its direct heirs.
There is truth in all these approaches, the error is to oppose or reduce this brilliant artist to the obvious seduction of his paintings. Bonnard was much more than the mischievous or sensual observer of bourgeois customs, cultivating a comfortable hedonism, capable of building the loyalty of a quickly international clientele.
Without ignoring the charm that Renoir recognized in him, this book makes the bet of an artist who is otherwise ambitious and more deeply anchored in the two centuries that were his. Here is a painter, a photographer, and very quickly a decorator of a thousand prowess, who launched himself at the time of the anarchist attacks, became one of the pillars of the Revue blanche and an actor in the Dreyfus Affair alongside Alfred Jarry, before to link up with Ambroise Vollard and the Bernheim-Jeune gallery, and to cross, in triumph, the crazy 1920s, the Popular Front and the Occupation.
Following one’s career is also commune with the Norman bocage and the slopes of Cannet, look into its links with the political world, observe the flow of orders, and the course of its paintings. His life itself, beyond the women he loved so much and so well slipped into his paintings, deserved a more in-depth examination. The man and the work, at the end of an investigation which never separates them, fully justify the thesis of the work: with all due respect to Picasso, Bonnard, concerned with the beauty of the world, was one of the great inventors of French art. IN FRANS!