PIERRE BONNARD (1867-1947)
PIERRE BONNARD (1867-1947)
PIERRE BONNARD (1867-1947)
PIERRE BONNARD (1867-1947)
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AN ELEGANT EYE: THE PROPERTY OF A DISTINGUISHED COLLECTOR
PIERRE BONNARD (1867-1947)

Le jardin public

Details
PIERRE BONNARD (1867-1947)
Le jardin public
stamped with the signature 'Bonnard' (Lugt 3886; lower left)
oil on canvas
15 x 21 ¾ in. (38 x 55 cm.)
Painted circa 1915
Provenance
The artist’s estate.
Anonymous sale, Chevau Legers Encheres, Versailles, 26 May 1974, lot 92.
Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd., London.
Anonymous sale, Christie’s, London, 27 June 1978, lot 56.
Acquired at the above sale, and thence by descent to the present owner.
Literature
J. & H. Dauberville, Bonnard: catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint 1940-1947 et supplément, vol. IV, Paris, 1974, no. 02066, p. 354 (illustrated).

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Annie Wallington
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Lot Essay

Le jardin public reflects Bonnard’s fascination with nature and the artist’s mastery of intense, fiery, unmodulated colours to intimate atmosphere, emotion and reality. The park depicted in the present work is likely the Parc des Tourelles in Vernonnet, the village near Vernon wherethe artist's settled from 1912 to 1920, in a small home on the banks of the Seine, known as ‘Ma roulotte’. In Le jardin public Bonnard has captured the dusk sunlight glowing through the trees: a backdrop to the people making their way home through the park in late summer. The canvas is infused with his unique visual language of simplified, flat areas of bright colour that recall his innovations as a Nabi and glorify his lifelong achievements as a colourist: ‘He devoted his main creative energies to wedding his sensations of colour from nature to those from paint itself – sensations which he said thrilled and even bewildered him. Perceiving colour with a highly developed sensitivity, he discovered new and unfamiliar effects from which he selected carefully, yet broadly and audaciously. [...] Whether in narrow range or multitudinous variety, the colours move across the surface of his paintings in constantly shifting interplay, lending an extraordinary fascination to common subjects. Familiar sights – the pervading greenness of a landscape, the intensification of colour in objects on a lightly overcast day – are given vivid life' (J. Elliott, in Bonnard and His Environment, exh. cat., New York, 1964, p. 25).
Composition allowed Bonnard to reconcile his intense interest in colour with the rendering of form, capturing the scenes before him with an absorbing intensity. In?Le jardin public, this is heightened by the upper frame provided by the purple and blue striped sky mirrored in the pinks and mauves of the path in the foreground, that serve a pictorial purpose in pushing the intense colours of the trees and grass into bolder relief.

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