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Pierre Bonnard

1867 Fontenay-aux-Roses – 1947 Le Cannet/Cannes

Pierre Bonnard, who had originally intended to become a lawyer, was initially self-taught as an artist before beginning to study art at the renowned Académie Julian in Paris in 1887. In 1889, inspired by his familiarity with the oeuvres of Gauguin and Emile Bernard, he joined the group of artists Les Nabis and soon belonged, together with his friend Edouard Vuillard, to the most prominent members of that innovative and creative artistic community. In the course of his artistic development Bonnard was not only receptive to the progressive artistic tendencies in French painting, but was also profoundly influenced by his encounter with Japanese art. The emphatically decorative character of his graphic art, the extreme simplification of form and space it entailed, and the nimble, calligraphic linework would be inconceivable without the example of the Japanese colour woodcut. With great economy of means he succeeded in portraying scenes of family life and inner-city living in an inimitably suggestive and humorous way that lent even the humblest aspects of everyday life a magic and poetry all of their own. The drawing style is lively, spirited and possesses an almost musical quality, which ingeniously translates the melodic structures of Claude Terrasse’s compositions to the black-andwhite medium of lithography.