Words by Jessica Peace
On now at the Tate Modern is their MASSIVE Pierre Bonnard exhibition: ‘The Colour Of Memory’. We went down for a gander this week…
REASONS TO STARE OUT THE WINDOW
Through his canvasses drenched with colour, Pierre Bonnard (1867 - 1947) recorded the landscapes, gardens and plants of the homes he lived in until his body was too weak to continue. Painting through two world wars and travel restrictions in France, Bonnard rendered glorious world’s from his memories of local villages, countryside drives and scenes framed by open windows. His work encompasses and draws together human and nature, from the nude photographs of his lover Martha in their garden to the continual floral motifs decorating furnishings. Bonnard’s life and art was fully immersed in nature.
MEMORIES THAT MOVED US
‘ALMOND TREE IN BLOSSOM’ 1946
‘Every spring it forces me to paint it’, Bonnard.
Bonnard painted his almond tree in blossom until he was too sick to continue; directing his nephew to complete his final improvement and dying the following January. Interestingly, it is one of the most ‘colourless’ of all the pieces, the light glowing from the pure white blossom.
‘DINING ROOM IN THE COUNTRY’ 1913
Bonnard lived in a few gaffs in his time and his work constantly draws the natural world into his home. This scene of his Normandy crib shows a domestic interior balanced perfectly with the wild, luminous exterior.
‘BALCONY AT VERNONNET’ 1920
Bonnard called his gaff at Vernonnet ‘the caravan’, from the balcony we see his abundant garden being worked. Attached to his surroundings and now with some cash in his pocket, Bonnard even rescued a huge tree from the chop by paying the local farmer.
Bonnard came home from witnessing land devastated by WW1 (depicted in ‘A Village in Ruins near Ham’) and created his vision of peace, light and growth.
‘NUDE IN AN INTERIOR’ 1930
This heady piece displays the young woman naked, surrounded by floral motifs and scents spilling from perfume jars, demonstrating the relationship between nature and sensuality.
Just get yourself to it.
GET ME THERE!
‘Pierre Bonnard: The Colour Of Memory’,Tate Modern, Southbank.
Waterloo/ London Bridge/ Blackfriars
£18 (Concessions available)
HOW LONG HAVE I GOT?
Ends May 6th