Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947)

Nature morte la levrette

Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947)
Bonnard, P.
Nature morte la levrette
stamped with signature 'Bonnard' (lower left)
oil on canvas
27 x 27 in. (70 x 70 cm.)
Painted circa 1923
Pierre Bonnard, Le Cannet.
Bonnard-Terrasse, Paris.
Wildenstein & Co., Inc., New York.
The Wallis Foundation, Santa Barbara.
M. Webb, "Painter of 'Luxe, Calme, et Volupt,'" Country Life, vol. 139, no. 3593, 13 January 1966, p. 68, fig. 1.
J. and H. Dauberville, Bonnard, Catalogue raisonn de l'oeuvre peint, Paris, 1974, vol. III, (1920-1939), p. 175, no. 1207 (illustrated).
M.S. Young, "Letter from the U.S.A.: Bonnard's Inquiring Eye," Apollo, vol. 64, no. 237, November 1981, pp. 340-341, fig. 6.
Stdelsches Kunstinstitut, Bonnard, Frankfurt, 1985,
p. 214, no. 104.
London, Royal Academy of Arts, Pierre Bonnard, Winter 1966, p. 55, no. 154 (illustrated, p. 98; as Levrette et Nature Morte).
London, Fischer Fine Art, A Journey into the Universe of Art, from Courbet and Corot to Bacon, Moore and Lindner, 1972, no. 5 (illustrated in color).
Tokyo, Nihonbashi Takashiyama Art Galleries; Kobe, Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Modern Art; Nagoya, Aichi Cultural Center, and Fukuoka, Art Museum, Pierre Bonnard, 1980-1981, no. 48 (illustrated, pl. 48).
Geneva, Muse Rath, Pierre Bonnard, 1981, no. 50.
New York, Wildenstein & Co., Inc., The Inquiring Eye of Pierre Bonnard, 1981, no. 29.
Zurich, Kunsthaus, Bonnard, December 1984-March 1985, p. 214, no. 104 (illustrated in color, p. 215).
Lausanne, Fondation de l'Hermitage, Pierre Bonnard et son monde enchant, June-October 1991, p. 157, no. 46 (illustrated in color).
Humlebaek, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Pierre Bonnard, September 1992-January 1993, no. 66.
Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Bonnard, January-April 1994, no. 95 (illustrated in color).
Santa Barbara, Museum of Art, Santa Barbara Collects: Impressions of France, 1998, p. 18, no. 3 (illustrated in color, p. 19; as Still Life with Greyhound).

Lot Essay

The domestic interior was a major theme for Bonnard throughout his career. He frequently included still-lifes in these pictures, and often incorporated images of his family members, and pets. These works typically radiate with the warmth, serenity and beneficence of domestic tranquility. Nature morte levrette is a classic example of this theme in his work.

The shelf and table divide the composition of Nature morte levrette into three horizontal bands of nearly equal dimension. This kind of geometrical order is standard in Bonnard's paintings of the domestic interior; another contemporary example is Femme tenant un chien, from 1922 (Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.). The application of pigment is lush and diffused. The combination of architectural structure and painterly brushwork is found in many of Bonnard's most important paintings and is a goal he shared with his friend Matisse.

The palette of the present work, with its emphasis on black, white and gray, is indebted to nineteenth century and Impressionist painting, precedents that can be found in the works of Manet, Bazille and Czanne (e.g. La pendule noire; Rewald, no. 136).

Bonnard has arranged the still life with great care to create a strong sense of visual rhythm. Charles Sterling has commented on Bonnard's fruit still-lifes:

"His still lifes are assortments of fruit on tables or in cupboards exposed to the sun; but departing from the Impressionists' literal-minded naturalism, he gives them an air of strange enchantment. His objects are pervaded by the light and heat of the sun, whose rays seem to melt down the fruits to a colored essence of their flesh and their taste-his interiors are fragrant with it" (C. Sterling, Still Life Painting From Antiquity to the Twentieth Century, New York , 1981, p. 124).

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