A multicolor Pierre Bonnard at Orsay

07. Bonnard_Ballet

“Les danseuses” as seen through fog from high above.

No need to go to Musée Marmottan to see the exhibition « La Toilette, naissance de l’Intime » for there are 14 baigneuses by Pierre Bonnard at Musée d’Orsay. And I must say they are not my favourite. The exhibition, which is drawing 4 000 visitors a day, is a hit and everyone can find a style he likes in this painter who was alive for 80 years and a master of color.

Bonnard liked to take photographs (there are many of Vuillard) with his Kodak pocket bought in 1890 ! and he travelled from the Riviera to Normandy in Vernonnet (near Giverny where he visited Monet) in order to find light.

01. Femme à la robe à pois blancs

Lady in a dress with white dots

The first room is dedicated to the very klimtesque Nabi paintings such as « Le peignoir » the robe, and it is spectacular. « Les dansesues » as painted in a cloud of fog and seen from high up in the theatre, are also amazing. Portraits of Thadée Natanson and Misia (later known as Sert), the Bernheim-Jeune brothers, « La loge » in 1908 with a fabulous man with a mustache, are all beautiful. But his self portraits at the end of his life 1945, could have been less numerous… Very near, the « Atelier aux mimosas » explodes on the wall.
A contemporary of the Impressionists, Bonnard always had his own identity and reconstructed space. « Intérieur blanc », 1932 for example, shows the back of a lady on the floor and a table. Very unusual.

The triptych "Méditerranée" painted for Ivan Morozov.

The triptych “Méditerranée” painted for Ivan Morozov.

The last room of the exhibition shows large decors he did for Ivan Morozov in Russia: « La Méditerranée », something contemporary Russians would love. It is now in the Hermitage in St Petersburg. The exhibition travels to Madrid in the fall and to San Francisco next February. (Musée d’Orsay until July 19 th)

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