PIERRE BONNARD (1867-1947)
PIERRE BONNARD (1867-1947)
PIERRE BONNARD (1867-1947)
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PIERRE BONNARD (1867-1947)

Jeunes filles et chiens ou Les Demoiselles Natanson ou Les Quatre Jeunes Filles

PIERRE BONNARD (1867-1947)
Jeunes filles et chiens ou Les Demoiselles Natanson ou Les Quatre Jeunes Filles
signed ‘Bonnard’ (upper right)
oil on canvas
48 ¾ x 55 1⁄8 in. (124 x 140 cm.)
Painted in 1910
Alexandre Natanson, Paris, by whom acquired from the artist; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 16 May 1929, lot 89. 
Galerie Gérard Frères, Paris, by whom acquired at the above sale. 
(Probably) Etienne Bignou, Paris.
Private collection, Zurich, by 1947, until at least 1955.
Wildenstein & Co. Inc., New York, by 1961. 
Lita Annenberg Hazen, New York, by whom acquired from the above in 1966, and thence by descent; sale, Sotheby’s, New York, 1 May 1996, lot 15. 
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
A. Fontainas, Bonnard: Les albums d'art Druet XX, Paris, 1928 (titled ‘Intimité’). 
L.-M. Lang, La Cote des Tableau ou Annuaire des Ventes de Tableaux, Dessins, Aquarelles, Pastels, Gouaches, Miniatures, vol. XI, Tous les Prix des Ventes de l'Année Octobre 1928 - fin Juillet 1929, Paris, 1929, p. 52. 
A. Page, Le collectionneurs de peintures modernes, Paris, 1930, p. 252. 
R. Édouard-Joseph, Dictionnaire Biographique des Artistes Contemporains, 1910-1930, vol. I, A-E, Paris, 1930, p. 161. 
L. Hautecoeur, Littérature et Peinture en France du XVIIe au XXe Siècle. Avec planches hors texte, Paris, 1942, pl. XXXVIII, no. 21, pp. 242-243 & 322 (illustrated; titled 'Intimité').
T. Natanson, Le Bonnard que je propose, Geneva, 1951 (illustrated pl. 41). 
A. Vaillant, ‘Livret de famille’ in L’Oeil, Paris, December 1956, p. 34 (illustrated). 
A. Vaillant, Bonnard ou le bonheur de voir, Neuchâtel, 1965, p. 61 (illustrated). 
F. Russoli, Pierre Bonnard, Milan, 1966, pl. VII (illustrated; titled 'Las señoritas Natanson'). 
J. & H. Dauberville, Bonnard: Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, vol. II, 1906-1919, Paris, 1968, no. 593, p. 186 (illustrated p. 187).
G. Groom, Edouard Vuillard: Painter - Decorator, Patrons and Projects, 1892-1912, New Haven & London, 1993, pl. 106, p. 63 (illustrated).
Paris, Galerie E. Druet, Tableaux de Pierre Bonnard de 1891 à 1922, April 1924, no. 28 (dated '1903').
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Pierre Bonnard, June - July 1947, no. 5, p. 6 (titled 'De vier meisjes'; dated '1898').
Zurich, Kunsthaus, Pierre Bonnard, June - July 1949, no. 32, p. 19 (illustrated pl. 2; titled 'Les enfants Terrasse' and dated ‘1899’). 
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Bonnard, 1953, no. 43 (titled 'De vier dochters Natanson in interieur').
Lyon, Musée de Lyon, Bonnard, Festival de Lyon Charbonnieres, 1954, no. 14. (titled 'Les enfants Terrasse'; dated '1900').
Milan, Palazzo della Permanente, Pierre Bonnard, April - May 1955, no. 16 (illustrated). 
Basel, Kunsthalle, Pierre Bonnard, May - July 1955, no. 32, p. 22 (illustrated). 
Buenos Aires, Galerie Wildenstein & Co. Inc., Bonnard, July - September 1965, no. 17, pp. 19 & 32 (illustrated p. 32; titled 'La famille Natanson'). 
London, Royal Academy of Arts, Pierre Bonnard, January - March 1966, no. 70, p. 43.

Brought to you by

Claudia Schürch
Claudia Schürch Senior Specialist, Interim Head of Department

Lot Essay

Pictured in an opulent salon, the four daughters of Alexandre Natanson are the subject of Pierre Bonnard’s large painting, Jeunes filles et chiens (Les Demoiselles Natanson ou Les Quatre Jeunes Filles) of 1910. A lawyer and journalist, Natanson was also an influential arts patron in turn-of-the-century Paris. A keen collector of Nabi art, he founded, together with his brothers, Thadée and Alfred, the literary magazine La revue blanche, which often featured the work of Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Félix Vallotton, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec among others.

This group portrait was painted in the Natanson’s opulent Parisian apartment on the Champs-Elysées. Set in either the salon or the petit salon, this work offers a glimpse of the couple’s ‘decidedly old French taste,’ picturing the room ‘decorated in elegant white and gold trimmed boiseries in a richly carved Louis-Seize interior,’ Gloria Groom has described (Edouard Vuillard: Painter – Decorator, Patrons and Projects, 1892-1912, New Haven, 1993, p. 63). The eldest three daughters, Evelyn, who would later become an engraver, Bolette, who likewise went on to be a prominent gallerist and designer, and Georgette, are pictured in opulent, lace trimmed green dresses, while the youngest child, Marcelle, is pictured in white, playing with one of the family’s dogs who is sitting on her lap. The daughters are pictured in an intimate, informal way, seen at ease in a moment of peaceful domesticity captured in perpetuity. Unlike more formal portraiture, none of the girls are looking directly out to meet the viewer’s gaze, but rather, they are involved in their own conversations, focused upon their pets. Bonnard painted a closely related portrait, Jeunes filles au chien (Dauberville, no. 592), which focused on the eldest and youngest daughters alone.

In 1894, Bonnard’s close friend and Nabi colleague Vuillard had created a suite of nine decorative paintings for Alexandre and his wife, Olga, which explored the theme of Jardins publics (Musée d’Orsay, Paris). These pictures included scenes of children under the trees, girls playing, and their nannies chatting, which the Natanson daughters may have inspired. Indeed, Gloria Groom has also suggested that Vuillard painted these panels for the children as much as their parents. Growing up, the Natanson daughters were surrounded by these panels – Alexandre reinstalled them when they moved from their home on the avenue de Bois to their Champs-Elysées mansion in 1908. In many ways the present work further reflects this intersection between the Natanson family and the artists that were so integral to their father’s life, their childhoods intertwined with the painting of the time.

The present work remained in Natanson’s collection until 1929, when he sold his collection in a sale at Hôtel Drouot. It was later acquired by Lita Annenberg Hazen, an American philanthropist who contributed greatly to the field of medical research, as well as supporting a range of cultural institutions in New York including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan Opera. The sister of politician and collector, Walter H. Annenberg, Lita Annenberg Hazen acquired an important collection of art, including Jasper Johns’s Small False Start, recently sold in The Paul G. Allen Collection at Christie’s New York. Her collection was sold in 1996, at which time it was acquired by the present owner, in whose collection it has remained for almost three decades.

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