The graceful, the elegance and the beautiful, these are the prevalent qualities for the works of Bonnet. It is a constant yearning for the artist to portray the people in the noblest form for eternity. Having spent some time in Florence where he is known to have been painting incessantly, the influence of the Italian masters was evident in the works of Bonnet, manifesting in his accentuation of the grandeur and elegance of people.
Apart from its beautiful people and breathtaking scenery, the rich ritualistic and ceremonial setting of Bali gives Bonnet the perfect grand stage as he depicts his 'performers'. For his perfect delineation of the characters and the impeccable arrangement of the people and their settings, always gives the finished work a dramatic and theatrical mood, befitting the lofty aspiration of the artist - to ensure the records of the people is 'preserved in its classical state'.
The profiles of his beautiful sitters, male or female are amongst the favourite renditions of the artist. This penchant for the delineation of human forms could be dated back to Bonnet's Italian period where certainly the classical Greek sculptures and Renaissance works have made a great impression on the artist.
Market scene, dated circa 1948 contains all the quintessential elements of a work of Bonnet. Depicting the landscape and the subjects with an unabashed elegance, thence successfully elevates the otherwise mundane, scene of quotidien, to a stage of rich ritualistic and ceremonial setting of a Balinese landscape.
The significance of the work lies not just in the date of the work that clearly makes it one of the artist's early works in Bali, but in the sentiments of spontaneity and spirituality that Bonnet manages to express from the work. Such are the qualities which gradually became much rarer in the artist's later works. The significance of the work also lies in the sheer size of Market scene, which instantly places it in the league of the celebrated grand oeuvres such as the Krisdans (circa. 1930-40), Jogeddans, circa. 1930-40, Aankleden voor de voorstelling (1954) and the Rijstoogst (1952) which is noted to be in the collection of President Soekarno. The present work certainly also shares the same backdrop of the majestic landscape of the aforementioned works and it nevertheless exudes supremely the subtle elegance and poetic beauty of the numerous sitters.
The beauty of the sitters are certainly the most inspiring elements for the artist who depicts the gentle features of the protagonists with emotive hands that alludes the Balinese beauties to classical Greek sculptures. The numerous figures depicted in the present work arguably show the artist at his best and revealed Bonnet's most sensitively executed and elegant renditions of human beauty that captured the artist's idea of a timeless essence of bodily elegance.
When Bonnet arrived in Bali in 1929, he was already 35 years old and dated in 1948, the present work was painted when the artist was 53. Market scene has stayed in the family of the first owner and was hanging in the Chinese restaurant of the family till it surfaces in the market for this auction.