At the beginning of May, last days of the exhibition, I visited Tate Modern for Pierre Bonnard exhibition. This is the first major exhibition of Bonnard’s work in the UK since the much-loved show at Tate 20 years ago. It is a good opportunity to allow new generations to discover Bonnard’s unconventional use of colour, while surprising those who think they already know him.
Born 1867, Bonnard was, with Henri Matisse, one of the greatest colourists of the early 20th century. He preferred to work from memory, imaginatively capturing the spirit of a moment and expressing it through his unique handling of colour and innovative sense of composition.
The exhibition concentrates on Bonnard’s work from 1912, when colour became a dominant concern, until his death in 1947. It presents landscapes and intimate domestic scenes which capture moments in time – where someone has just left the room, a meal has just finished, a moment lost in the view from the window, or a stolen look at a partner.
Bonnard, was also a member of Les Nabis, a group of artists working at that time. They included artists such as Edouard Vuillard and Paul Serusier.
Nabis comes from the Hebrew word for prophet. These painters saw themselves as prophets of modern art. They favoured a bold, but simplified style of painting.
Les Nabis used flat patches of colour, and admired Japanese prints and the work of Paul Gauguin. Gauguin was known for experimenting with colour. Bonnard worked in the years following Gauguin's death in 1903 and was directly influenced by his style.
This is a very comprehensive exhibition; if you have an interest for impressionism and French Art you must definitely see the exhibition and you can have a lunch on Tate Restaurant after visiting the exhibition and try Pierre Bonnard special menu.