Bonnard at the Legion of Honor

Following on from my last post on Japanese porcelains, another highlight at the Legion of Honor museum is their current temporary exhibition on Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947). This runs to several galleries, featuring over 70 works, and covering all the themes you would hope to find in a Bonnard show, from bathing nudes to still lifes to domestic interiors. There are also tiny prints of his photographic work, which I had not seen before.

This is not Asian art, of course, but I wanted to include it here because several works show the influence of Japanese prints, an aspect of the Nabis movement of the 1890s. This is especially apparent in the scenes showing women in decorative costumes with bold patterning.

For instance, the group of four panels called Women in the Garden features a series of single women in eye-catching dresses, possibly intended to represent the four seasons, a favourite theme in Japanese art. The atmospheric garden scene Twilight likewise offers a celebration of colour and pattern on the women's dresses. I think some of the audience will be primed to make these links after visiting the show Looking East at the Asian Art Museum, discussed in this previous post.

Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia
Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA
6 February to 15 May 2016

Below: Pierre Bonnard, Woman in Dress with White Dots, from Women in the Garden. 1891. Distemper on paper mounted on canvas. Height 160.3cm; width 48cm. Musee d'Orsay. Image at http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/collections/index-of-works/

bonnard women in the garden woman in dress with white dots

Below: Pierre Bonnard, Woman in Checkered Dress, from Women in the Garden. 1891. Distemper on paper mounted on canvas. Height 160.5cm; width 48cm. Musee d'Orsay. Image at http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/collections/index-of-works/

bonnard women in the garden woman in checkered dress

Below: Bonnard, Twilight: The Croquet Game, 1892. Oil on canvas. Height 130.5cm; length 162.2cm. Musee d'Orsay. Image at http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/collections/index-of-works/

bonnard twilight the croquet game