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Cover 2018

The 2018 Outer Coast calendar is now available! Printed in glorious color on heavy, vellum-surface Natural colored paper by Alaska Litho in Juneau, Alaska U.S.A.

This calendar features my original art, poetry by Alaskans and other greats, gardening reminders for southeastern Alaska, and wilderness anniversaries. It opens out to 11 x 17 inches (8 1/2 by 11 closed), has a handy hole for hanging, and, has complete year of 2019 on the last page.

You can order on line from www.theoutercoast.com, buy in stores in Sitka, or, soon, buy in your favorite Alaskan or select Northwest bookstore. (If the store doesn’t have it, tell them to order thru distributor Taku Graphics.)

This year’s calendar is built around the theme of courage – having faith in what we know is good, and having a “frenzy for the future”: the faith it takes to work toward making the future even better than today.

Poetry includes a sonnet by Rainer Maria Rilke from his Sonnets to Orpheus, and some great quotes from Walt Whitman.

We have two beautiful poems by Caroline Goodwin from her latest book The Paper Tree, published this year (2017) by Big Yes Press.

And, a lovely haiku by Sitka’s own John Straley, from his recent book 100 Poems of Spring, published by Shorefast Editions in 2016.

Plus a couple of classics from poet Lew Welch (1926-1971). Here are some images of the 2018 calendar:

March 2018 image onlyApril 2018August 2018December 2018February 2018January 2019July 2018June2018May 2018October2018November 2018September 2018

 

 

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cezanne.basket-apples

Paul Cezanne, The Basket of Apples c. 1893 25 7/16 x 31 1/2 in. (65 x 80 cm) Art Institute of Chicago

The same Fifth graders who got into Abstract Expressionism tried their hands at Post-Impressionism. And, it was a sunny day just a week before school let out. So they weren’t exactly calm, and yet did fabulous work. The image above is the inspiration, which the kids each talked about – things like the color juxtapositions, how he made the fruit look round, the strange perspective that makes the table look tipped. We also looked at images of paintings by Henri Matisse.IMG_0424smallIMG_0422smallIMG_0423smallIMG_0420smallIMG_0421smallIMG_0418smallIMG_0419smallIMG_0416smallIMG_0417smallIMG_0414smallIMG_0415smallIMG_0412smallIMG_0413smallIMG_0410smallIMG_0411smallIMG_0408smallIMG_0409small

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gotham news 1957

Gotham News, 1955 by Willem de Kooning ( 69 x 79” Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo)

We looked at images of paintings by Helen Frankenthaler, Jackson Pollock, and Willem de Kooning, including pictures of the paintings in galleries, and Helen Frankenthaler and Jackson Pollock working in their studios, to show the very large scale of pictures in this school. I also told them where some of these pictures are, and had a snapshot of one (Small’s Paradise, by Helen Frankenthaler) I took in Washington D. C. in March.

I told them how Abstract Expressionism was painting that was not of something, but was the thing, in the words of Jackson Pollock. And how painting is a language, in which you can express things you can’t put into words.

The paintings they liked were both by de Kooning: Excavation and Gotham News, which is the one we talked about. The kids each noted something about the picture, and brought out the bright colors, and how it references people, dogs, layers, cities, noise, excitement, Batman, buildings and other structures, without being pictures of those things.

It could be too that they were drawn to this picture because it holds up better on the rather dim interactive white board projectors the school has. You don’t get the benefit of the brilliant colors of Helen Frankenthaler’s work. We held up the laptop so they could get an idea of the brilliance of the actual paintings.

Inspired by the picture, they made paintings in the manner of Abstract Expressionism. I think some of them felt like they were being naughty, by using a finger or their hands, in making layer on layer, in using gobs of paint, and even in scraping back to get to layers below. But they were not naughty, they were all fully involved in the paint and what it was doing. This was the most energetic and focused group I’ve had, as far as everyone diving in.

We asked them to mix at least 3 colors, and this time not to make a picture of a thing but to paint with colors and shapes and lines, and to try different brush sizes.

We even had time to clean up and to spend a few minutes looking at our work.

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matisse4

A Still Life by Henri Matisse

The very beautiful still-life paintings by Ms. Love’s Fifth Grade class in 2015. I’ve been meaning to put these up for a while. The students first learned about color mixing. They did these paintings in one session, painting from still lifes set up with colored cloths and fruit. They are done with tempera paint on canvas board (just because the teacher had some she wanted to get used!).img_2132smallimg_2133smallimg_2134smallimg_2135smallimg_2136smallimg_2137smallimg_2138smallimg_2139smallimg_2140smallimg_2141smallimg_2142smallimg_2143smallimg_2144smallimg_2145smallimg_2146smallimg_2147smallimg_2148smallimg_2149smallimg_2150smallimg_2151smallimg_2152small

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Following is a paper I wrote for an art history class, with Dr.Glenn  Benge, at Tyler School of Art around 1999.

bather-1935

Pierre Bonnard, Bather 1935

Introduction

Pierre Bonnard was a member of the most prominent artistic group in Paris in the 1890s, when he was in his 20s, and he produced some of the most original and valuable work of that fertile time. Yet he lived and painted into his 80th year, producing his masterpieces well after he and his friends were out of the spotlight of modern art, which had gone on to Matisse, Picasso, and to Abstract Expressionism by the time Bonnard died in 1947.

Here are reproductions of a print and a painting from the begining and end of his career: the lithograph Family Scene* (21 x 26 cm, private collection, Switzerland) of 1892, and the painting White Interior (109 x 162 cm, Musée de Grenoble) of 1932. Bonnard’s early works, like this print from 1892, when he was 25, show a combination of decorative, abstracted shapes, a flattened space, and the use of quirky yet descriptive marks to make a work that is decorative without being bland, charming without being too sweet, and observed yet not overly descriptive. Bonnard’s combination of these things, which was unique to him, can be summarized as the combination of a pleasing but odd design and a subject it takes a moment to read, which are integral to each other. What makes his prints, and paintings, work is the way our brain has to move between the plane of decorative marks and the space and figures represented, the play between illusion and surface.

Over the years he transformed his style into something even stronger. This painting was done in 1933, when he was in his mid-60s. The overall decorative effect is now achieved with color, and the graphic elements – shapes and line – are not as prominent. In the painting there is more of a feeling of something going on below the surface. But in the painting as in the print, much of its success is due to the relationship of the marks and design of the surface of the work to the illusionistic space we see at the same time.

In this paper I will address the following questions: How was Pierre Bonnard’s work a product of the 1890s, and how is his work an expression of the ideas about art which were current? What is the significance of the subdued colors and intimate scenes chosen by Bonnard and by his close associate Edouard Vuillard, which caused them to be called “Intimists”? What made Bonnard’s work unique – what does it have in common with, and how does it differ from, the work of Vuillard, the work of others in the Nabi circle, and the work of other contemporaries? And finally, how do the lithographs and paintings of Bonnard’s early years lead to the colorful canvases of his later life?

The 1880s

Pierre Bonnard began to study art at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs in 1885, after he had earned his baccalaureate. He soon dropped out and began to train for the civil service, but with the intention of continuing to paint on his own. In 1887 he renewed his art studies, at the Académie Julian then at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, while still in training for the civil service and then working as a clerk. In 1889 he failed his civil service exam and won a poster contest, and so began his career in art.1

These paintings are by two of the masters who exemplify the attitude towards art to which we owe the rebellion of the late 19th century. They are William Adolphe Bouguereau’s Return From the Harvest of 1878 (241 x 170 cm, Cummer Gallery of Art, Jacksonville) and Prayer in the Mosque of ‘Amr (88.9 x 74.9 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art), 1872, by Léon Gérôme. Gérôme2 and Bouguereau taught at the Ecole des Beaux Arts at the time Bonnard was there. The Académie Julian, which Bonnard and most of the Nabis also attended, was a private studio school which the Ecole des Beaux Arts instructors would visit to correct the pupils.3 The painstaking and highly skilled execution, and exotic, romanticized, mythical or historical subject matter and classical perspective of Gérôme and Bouguereau were valued by the establishment, and were what the younger painters rebelled against. Only certain subjects were thought appropriate for a good painting. The extreme naturalistic detail detracted from the work — as art historian H. R. Rookmaaker observes, “Looking, for example, at Bouguereau’s Satyr and Nymphs we get the impression of seeing a snapshot taken in a nudist camp” — and the overall work tended to be stiff and formulaic.4

Influences on the Nabis

While still in art school Pierre Bonnard became friends with the other young painters who were to call themselves the Nabis, the Hebrew word for prophet. These young Parisians had in common a comfortable middle-class background and an excellent, liberal education.5

These slides show two paintings by Paul Sérusier, the leader of the Nabis, who was also an art theorist who wrote down some of their ideas. One is from 1888, The Breton Weaver (72 x 59 cm, location not given), and shows the style that got one of his paintings accepted into the Salon. The next slide dates from 1890, and is titled, Paul Ranson in Nabi costume (60 x 45 cm, collection Mme Ranson, Paris). Ranson was one of the Nabis, the one at whose house they met. It looks like there is some humor there. They did dress up sometimes, and had special words and signatures.6 These examples show the revolutionary change in Sérusier’s style, from the Weaver’s naturalistic light and details, to the odd perspective, bold outline, and simplification of the portrait.

The Nabis were a loose association, mainly a group of friends who were all serious artists.7 They were formed, however, around the ideas of Paul Gauguin. In 1888 Sérusier, on the last day of his holidays in Brittany, finally approached Gauguin, who was staying at the same inn.

This slide shows Paul Gauguin’s painting The Vision After the Sermon of 1888 (73 x 92 cm, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh) which was revolutionary in several ways. The stylized, simply-drawn figures, the flattening and distortion of the illusionary space, and the simplified areas of color, especially the large area of bright red are all new, developed by Gauguin working with Emile Bernard at Pont-Avens in Brittany.8

On his last day in Brittany, in the late summer of 1888, Sérusier went out painting with Gauguin, and painted a landscape with Gauguin’s instruction. The slide is Sérusier’s cigar-box lid, Landscape of the Bois d’Amour at Pont-Avens (27 x 22 cm, private collection, France), his attempt at translating the master’s instruction that day.9

Back in Paris Sérusier shared what he understood of Gauguin’s theories and showed his friends the painting, which became the group’s “talisman.” In 1889 they could see a show of Gauguin and his followers at the Café Volpini in Paris.10

Gauguin’s and Bernard’s painting used the actual means of drawing to express the artist’s state of mind. They valued most those elements of painting which were not found in nature, line in particular, and flat, unillusionistic areas of color, intentional distortion, and simplification.11 Maurice Denis, one of the Nabis, said they learned from Gauguin, “that every work of art was a transposition, a caricature, the passionate equivalent of a received sensation.”12 The artist had to select the elements in what he saw that were necessary to his vision, and ignore the others. Because so much of the art admired by the establishment was realistic, but formulaic and effete, Gauguin and his colleagues came to value the ideal of ‘primitive’ art, art not affected by the Italian Renaissance, and saw a primitive style of drawing and painting as more likely to convey emotional truth.13

In the work of the previous generation, that of the Impressionists, the painting is still a window into illusionistic space. Gauguin and the Nabis took painting one step beyond, asserting its existence as “a flat surface covered with colors arranged in a certain order,”14 as articulated by Nabi Maurice Denis (then age 20) in 1890, with expressive and decorative aims foremost.

Japanese prints had begun to circulate among some French artists in the 1860s, and by the 1890s were the fashion in Paris. A show in 1890 at the Ecole des Beaux Arts had over a thousand woodcuts and illustrated books.15 In addition, crude popular woodcuts, called Images d’Epinal after the town that produced them, had a new value to the young painters, with their crude and non-illusionistic line and flat colors.16

Symbolism

An important element of the esthetics of the Nabis and of Gauguin was Symbolism, current in both literature and art. These slides show Symbolist painter Odilon Redon’s lithograph The Breath which Leads Living Creatures of 1882 (27.3 x 20.9 cm, no location given) and the charcoal drawing Woman’s Profile with Flowers (50 x 37 cm, Rijksmusem, Holland) of the early 1890s.

Symbolist poets tried to get away from subject matter altogether. The many images in their work would be purely representative of ideal concepts, summoned only by the poet’s mind. This was in reaction to Positivism, formulated in the early nineteenth century but still current, which said that science alone can explain the universe, and to Naturalism in literature, in which the actions of the characters of a novel are completely dependent on their circumstances. The idea for the literary Symbolists was that only art could reveal true reality, which had nothing to do with literal description or rational analysis.

The originator of literary Symbolism, Stéphane Mallarmé, stated that he wanted “to paint not the thing, but the effect it produces.”17 He wanted, through suggestion, to evoke the pure idea behind objectively perceived reality. Mallarmé became famous (and infamous, through his identification with a “decadent” character in a novel) in 1884 and the ideas of Symbolism were popular among the Paris avant garde.18 Mallarmé was known personally by the Nabis, and Bonnard had the highest regard for his work.19

In Symbolism in art there are many varieties, but they have in common the idea that art should be expressive of something beyond ordinary visual reality, usually mystical, and not simply a depiction of what we see. There were different styles of visual Symbolism, and some artists used very naturalisitically and literally painted things and figures which indicated some mystical theme. Gustave Moreau was champion of this school.

Odilon Redon was a Symbolist artist closer to the ideas of Mallarmé, and they later became friends. Redon was known and admired by the Nabis, though he had been doing his strange works for decades before becoming popular with the younger generation of writers and painters of the 1890s.20 Redon valued line as an abstract element, the “arabesque,” and wrote, “All my art is limited solely to the resources of chiaroscuro and it also owes a great deal to the effects of abstract line, that power drawn from deep sources which acts directly upon our minds. An evocative art can achieve nothing without recourse to the mysterious play of shadows and of the rhythm of lines conceived in the mind.”21 Thus the pictorial means of the work of art convey meaning as much as the subject, an idea that was part of Gauguin’s theory as well.

Symbolism, like all art movements, was in many ways a reaction to the faults or outdated aspects of preceding movements. Impressionism seemed too shallow, being concerned only with representing exterior effects of light. Academic Naturalism in painting was even more superficial, with its emphasis on super-realistic (yet romanticised) rendering of figures and landscapes. The English Pre-Raphaelites, though linked with the literary symbolists, were also ignored by the Nabis, because, like many of the cruder symbolist painters, the Pre-Raphaelites painted ideas in a literal fashion, rather than transforming them through the tools of painting into something which would work directly through the visual, without recourse to intellectual or literary allusion.

Decoration of Puvis de Chavannes

Another important influence on the Nabis was the older painter-decorator Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, another Symbolist, although he disclaimed the association.22 This painting is his Summer from 1891 (54.4 x 86.3 cm, Musée du Petit Palais, Paris), the small version of a mural. Though his symbolism is rather literal, his work above all is decorative. Puvis had revived mural painting in France.23 His subject matter is not unlike oil paintings acceptable at the time, and in fact his work was so acceptable that he did murals for the Sorbonne and the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) in Paris.

In order to complement the architecture, the painting is in soft, flat colors and has no deep space, which would break up the visual surface of the wall.24 His style of painting is rather simplified, and there is little modeling. Another decorative aspect is that the figures and ground work together in the composition. The decorative aspects of his work – the simplification, the unnaturalistic colors, flattening of perspective and integration of figure and ground – seemed very modern to the Nabis.25

Early paintings.

This painting by Gauguin, Portrait of Vincent Van Gogh (73 x 91 cm, Van Gogh Foundation, Amsterdam) was done in 1888. The other painting is by Nabi Edouard Vuillard, Self-portrait with Sister (no size or location given), in 1892.Vuillard was another Nabi, who was most closely tied to Bonnard, and who shared a studio with him for a time. Vuillard’s style at this time was similar to Gauguin and Bernard, with the simplified forms, lack of modelling and decorative use of color.

Both Vuillard and Bonnard experimented with Gauguin’s style of heavy outlines and flatly applied color. Before long though both had developed their own styles. This landscape (Chateau of Virieu, in Dauphiné, 22 x 27 cm, private collection, Paris) was painted by Bonnard in 1888, before Sérusier’s revelation. It is naturalistic in forms and colors, and the composition is not that interesting. The second painting, The Review (23 x 31 cm, private collection, Paris), done in 1889, shows Bonnard’s version of the artistic interpretation of a scene, in the new style, influenced by Gauguin and Japanese woodcuts. (In reproductions in books this painting is much brighter.) The heavy outlines, bright colors, lack of modelling, and tilted perspective are all elements of Japanese wood cuts and of the ideas of Gauguin. The soldier closest to us, blocking the picture, and making some interesting graphic shapes in the composition, is pure Bonnard: kind of surprising, but right, in how he fits in to the imagined space and into the compositional space.

Two “Intimist” paintings of the 1890s.

These two paintings of the 1890s, Two Women By Lamplight (1892, 33 x 41 cm, G. Grammont Collection, Paris) by Vuillard and Breakfast Under the Lamp (1898, 24 x 33 cm, private collection, Montreux) by Bonnard, have much in common. The same pallette is used in both. What caused these painters to choose the browns, dull blue and brownish orange, over the brilliant colors of the Impressionists and even Gauguin? They also both used an earthy pallette for their respective series of color lithographs published in 1899.

One reason might be subtlety. There is no obvious action in the paintings, no obvious social commentary or overt symbolism, no provocative title. Just as with the suppression of details, the slightly unreal, but subtle colors are demonstrating that the meaning in the painting is going to come from the painting itself, and not something imposed on it.

The Nabi painters greatly admired the Symbolist painter Odilon Redon,26 whose main work was in black and white lithographs, with no color at all. They were also in contact with him. Redon wrote, “My drawings inspire, and are not to be defined. They do not determine anything. Like music, they take us into the ambiguous world of the indeterminate. They are a kind of metaphor, Rémy de Gourmont had said, giving them a position all their own, far from geometric art.”27 Redon felt that color would take away from the expressive line. He only started using much color in the 1890s and later.

Both Vuillard28 and Bonnard knew and admired the Symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé.29 The literary Symbolists exalted suggestion over description, “Never the Color, always the Shade,/ always the nuance is supreme!”30 Unlike other painters influenced by Symbolism, Bonnard did not paint things that were supposed to be idealized or unreal. The important idea in literary Symbolism for Bonnard and his friends was probably the idea of suggestion, rather than description. In an 1891 interview Mallarmé said: “To name the object is to destroy three-quarters of the pleasure we take in the poem, which is derived from the enjoyment of guessing by degrees; of suggesting it. That is our dream. Symbolism is the perfect way to approach this mystery: one gradually conjures up an object so as to demonstrate a state of mind, or, conversely, one chooses an object which, when gradually deciphered, reveals a state of mind.”31

Bonnard and Vuillard show their affinity for the idea of suggestion in the literary symbolists in the simplification and subtlety of forms and colors. Bonnard was a a kind of Symbolist, because he was intentionally invoking ideas through his paintings that were not completely in the actual subject matter, through color, shapes, and vagueness. He was just subtle about it, and this made his work much more effective, in that it works in a way only visual art can, without using intellectual concepts.

The dark colors are also expressive of a certain mood, of reflection, closeness and even claustrophobia. There is probably something of the descriptive, as well. Paris apartments in the 1890s probably looked like that, before electric light.

Bonnard scholar Helen Giambruni argues that their suggestive interiors owe a lot to the plays of Maeterlink, whose plays were put on by the Théâtre de l’Ouvre, when the Nabi painters were very involved in doing sets there, and his “notion of another, more significant reality – the unformulated emotional undercurrents existing beneath the banal surface of everyday human interactions” 32

Another aspect of Bonnard’s and Vuillard’s art was the idea of using ordinary things as subject matter. This was again in reaction to academic painting, which relied on grand subject matter, and was yet another way of making the artist himself more apparent in the artwork. It was not original with the Nabis; Manet, for example, had painted street scenes, waitresses and courtesans.

Bonnard and Vuillard have been called “Intimist,” though both did as many street scenes as interiors, and bourgeois interiors as subject matter were not unusual even among the Impressionists. The works of Vermeer, whose beautiful paintings are of everyday interiors and ordinary women, were in vogue at the time. Paintings of intimate, dimly-lit interiors (think of card players) were common in the 1890s.

But in the paintings of Bonnard and Vuillard, while the domestic interior as a subject is not new, the extreme closeness – emotional and perceptual – is new. In the reduction of illusionistic space, and the flattening of the picture, everything comes out at the viewer. The slightly off, quirky composition surprises us by putting us right into the room, rather than letting us view it as through a window.

And now, how is Bonnard’s painting different from Vuillard’s? In Bonnard’s, much more than in Vuillard, the figures lose their identity to become part of the formal structure of the painting.33 Even in the highly patterned surface of Two Women, in which the figures and grounds are united with color, there is still a separation between them and their background. You sense there are two people there, two presences. In Breakfast, on the other hand, how many people are in the room? It took me a while to see the face of the fifth little person in the foreground. In his painting, also, the interplay of forms and colors is in itself more interesting, because of the movement of the curves and s-shapes through the composition.

These two prints, from the late 1890s, Bonnard’s Child in Lamplight (1897, 33 x 45.5 cm, private collection, Paris) and Vuillard’s Interior with Pink Wallpaper (1899, 88 x 193 cm, Museum of Modern Art, New York) are also Intimist, although in the different medium, color lithography, the effect is different. Instead of the brushy vagueness of Bonnard’s painting, or the rich colors and patterns of Vuillard, they use graphic marks and the light of the paper to convey an atmosphere. In the Child, the lampshade’s graphic shape is the main thing in the composition, dramatizing the littleness of the child. Its dark shape and clear outline also make the rest of the picture more mysterious by contrast, and, I think the little white face and hands coming out of the shadow, convey the impression that something is going on inside that head.

Vuillard’s lithographs of the series that included the Wallpaper print, Interiors and Landscapes, published in 1899, are almost abstract. The pattern on the wallpaper becomes the subject of the print. The flattening and the integration of the lamp into the wall behind it again bring the room to the viewer’s face.

Art has always been about more than the things depicted, so in a way nothing Bonnard was doing in this regard was new. But because the Nabis were reacting against the Academic realism of their time, they felt they had to come up with a new method of painting which did not rely on a close representation of reality, and so was more obviously a creation of the artist.

Other Nabis, Symbolism and decoration.

These two paintings are by Paul Sérusier: Pont-Aven Triptych from 1892-93 (71 x 33 cm, J. C. Bellier) and Meditation, from 1890 (no size or location given). While Bonnard did not tie his art to the literal, either literal representations of reality, or literal depiction of emotional states or ideas, most of the other Nabis did. All of the Nabis except Bonnard, Vuillard and Ker-Xavier Roussel had Theosophist, mystical or Catholic interests34 and took more to the mystical side of Symbolism, as these paintings by Sérusier show.

Nabi Maurice Denis was a strongly religious Catholic, and his art was obviously symbolic, mystical and Christian. These two paintings, Procession Under the Trees (no size or location given) and The Cup of Tea, or Mystical Allegory (92 x 55 cm, private collection) were done in 1892. The Cup of Tea is also strongly decorative, to the detriment of the work.

Another pitfall was the tendency for the work to become merely decorative. The Nabis’ distinguishing characteristic, against their other contemporaries, was their emphasis on art as decoration. Turning the painting into a decorative object was an idea of Gauguin, when he changed the painting from an illusionistic space into a primitively outlined composition of line and color, with a strong integration of figure and ground. Sérusier took this a step further, saying that the expressive power of line and color was the most important thing.35 The idea for the Nabis was that the artist could distort what he saw, but the aim in the end was that it be beautiful, or decorative.36

In a way Manet and the Impressionists had shown the way to this modern way of composing a picture, with a decorative lack of focus, against the classical, hierarchical style of the academy. The art critic Peter Shjeldahl puts the dispersed style of composition into the modern context: “(Monet’s) problem was, as ours is, how to construct a vision of the world without a hierarchy of values, an order of importance. If your eye falls impartially on all that confronts it – and any other way of looking at the world seems false – how can you compose other than blandly or arbitrarily? The bland and the arbritrary held no terrors for Manet, who recognized them as qualities of the absolutely modern: the emotional leveling of democracy, the attention-shredding disarray of the city.”37 A decorative, all-over style of composition found in the art of the Nabis is thus an important part of modern art.

Actual decoration was the aim of most of the Nabis. Vuillard did much of his work as mural decoration in private houses, where he used distemper (glue, chalk and pigment), which is used for painting walls. Maurice Denis, the strongly religious Catholic, went on to decorate church interiors.38 Jan Verkade converted to Catholicism and joined an abbey that decorated churches.39 Paul Ranson designed tapestries. Nearly all of them, including Bonnard, did program covers, posters and set design for the various new theaters, to which they had connections through their friends and contemporaries.

The international craft movement was going on at the same time. The Nabi painters and Gauguin saw nothing wrong with, and even praised, designing and painting for decoration, as a way to bring together art and life.40 The Nabis, and their artistic ideas, were part of an artistic and literary scene in Paris. In contrast to the disasters of the Impressionists’ time, the Franco-Prussian war and the Paris Commune, which fed the reaction against the Impressionist styles,41 the 1890s in Paris were relatively secure for Bonnard and his colleagues.

While the Nabis were revolutionary in some ways, they were also stylish in other ways. In using subdued colors and flat space, their art could fit better into a tastefully decorated home. The browns and dull yellows they used were popular decorating colors in the United States in the 1880s; perhaps there was an element of fashionable good taste in their choices.

These two paintings contrast Bonnard’s version of the decorative with that of one of the other Nabis, Ker-Xavier Roussel. In the painting by Roussel, Woman in a Blue-flecked Peignoir of 1891 (35 x 27 cm, private collection) the shapes and colors are too harmonious, and our attention does not stray much from the woman’s face. In Bonnard’s painting of the same year, Women with a Dog, (1891, 40 x 32 cm, S. and F. Clark Art Institute), we see some of his unique strengths, even at the age of 24: he is extremely free with the figures, so that there is action in our identification of what is going on; and the flat patterning of the girl’s dress adds to the artifice of his representation. The faces are averted and generalized enough that they are not the focus of the composition. It is deliberately unbalanced, unlike the Roussel. We are continually surprised, by unexpected colors and shapes. In this picture Bonnard is at his most decorative, but it is still an interesting picture.

Bonnard’s color lithographs

Bonnard’s first really wonderful works are his color lithographs of the 1890s. This slide shows his poster for the magazine La Revue Blanche (80 x 63 cm, Museum of Modern Art, New York) done in 1894. Color lithography is the perfect vehicle for the ideas of Bonnard and his circle at this time: the limited pallette encourages a simplified, artificial color scheme; it is ideally suited to the flat tints copied from the Japanese and popular French prints; and line is paramount. In his early prints especially, the decorative element is foremost.42 The idea that art is surface and pattern is especially happily expressed in something as obviously two-dimensional as a color print on paper.

In this poster the figures, setting and text are integrated into a decorative composition, but it is saved from being too harmonious by the size and odd outlines of the big dark area. The edgy, sketchy line animates the ragamuffin and the lady’s cape. What is the dark shape on the right? I have read it is a gentleman, and you can see this if you see a top hat with a white reflection on his head. The magazine rack is very stylized, as is the pattern applied flatly to the kid’s scarf. These are taken from Japanese prints. What Bonnard has added is his wiggly outline, which at the same time seems random, and is descriptive of the essential elements of the slightly scary lady of fashion and the flying elbows and clothes of the newsboy.

Bonnard’s first commissioned art work had been a color poster for France Champagne, with only a few colors, of a girl with a cup of champagne and piles of bubbles, outlined with a sinuous, lively line that has a life of its own. The hand-drawn letters were also an innovation, and are tied in to the overall design. (That first, innovative poster caught the attention of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Bonnard led him to his lithographer.)

The influence of Japanese woodcuts is most obvious in Bonnard’s lithographs. Colta Ives, in her book The Great Wave documents not only the stylistic influence but how specific prints by the Edo masters inspired individual works by artists of the 1880s and 1890s. The Japanese prints, which were at the same time sophisticated art works while also satisfying what Gauguin and others were looking for in “primitive” art, were extremely important in what they contributed, but are outside the scope of this paper.

Pierre Bonnard was particularly susceptible to the Japanese wood cut style, and his Nabi nickname was the “very Japanese Nabi.”43 One aspect of his style which may have made him like the Japanese prints is his dry humor. The Japanese prints, like Bonnard’s, convey a sophisticated but charming view of the world, never “cute” or clever. There is some distance, but also affection. The dry, whimsical freshness of the Japanese prints looks like the perfect antidote to the cloying romanticism and self-serious classicism of the French painting establishment, not to mention the quasi-religious ambitions of the Symbolists.

The elements of style of the woodcuts, which give them this understated comprehension and which Bonnard (and Gauguin, the Impressionists, and others of the Nabis) appropriated included the unusual viewpoints and perspectives, such as extreme closeups and high viewpoints; the dominance of outline; colors barely modulated; and flatness and distortion in service to the overall decorative design of the plate. Space, colors and subjects are simplified. This is exemplified in the print “Family Scene” from the beginning of my talk, where the funny fat little baby and his keepers are in an odd perspective, making the adults as droll as the baby.

Bonnard’s prints have a sketchy, unfinished look to them. The beauty and charm is in the gesture of the drawing, the line. Bonnard was a good draughtsman, and his drawing is his strongest point at this time of his career. In lithography every nuance of the crayon is reproduced in the print.

In his suite of prints “Quelques Aspects de la Vie de Paris” (Some Aspects of Paris Life, 1899) Bonnard takes as his subject the ordinary street scenes, rather than the great sights of the city. These two prints are Houses in the Courtyard, 1895-96 (34.5 x 25.7 cm, Museum of Modern Art, New York) and Boulevard, from circa 1896 (17.3 x 43.5 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

Colta Ives says that Hiroshige and Bonnard were both “on the lookout for the anecdotal and picturesque in the urban scene”44 but I think that what saves them is that they were not: the people are quite ordinary, there is an almost total lack of anecdote. What makes their prints interesting is that they have taken a common scene and transformed it into pattern, and the interest is in the interplay between the reality depicted and the pattern, not in the “anecdote” or the “picturesque.”

Still, in these prints there is an element of interesting subject matter. The movement of Bonnard’s artistic development is away from making use of the charm inherent in his subject matter. In his prints of the 1890s, he is still choosing scenes with some attraction in their own right, though he is drawing it out.

These lithographs are masterpieces as graphics for their decorative and pleasing qualities. In them he brings out, and essentially creates, the delight of seeing the energy and rhythms of shoppers and tradespeople on the Paris street, the sparkle of sun on a bright day, the dark glow of shopwindows on a rainy night. In doing this so well he is not merely recording a sight but interpreting it through visual means, with shapes, rhythms, and colors and textures, which evoke the feelings he had when he saw the scenes.

The suite of Paris lithographs was done over a three year period, 1896-1899, and there are obvious changes as the suite progresses. These changes can be summarized as “more scribbly” as he incorporates elements of Impressionism into his work.45 The actual prints are very attractive. The colors are all rather dull – they all have at least four colors, and at least two of these in each print are a brown, olive or dark gray. Even the brightest color is usually dulled down, and overprinted colors often contain complements, giving a muddy tone. Yet the overall effect is usually bright. This is achieved in the earlier prints with lighter colors, and areas of white.The use of dull colors is probably for the same reasons I outlined above for the Intimist paintings: subtlety, suggestion, style and verisimiltude.

In the early prints, the energy of his composition is from the graphic shapes, carefully laid out and realized. In the courtyard print, the use of all that white paper is rather daring. All that is happening is in the relationship of squares and lines

Houses in a Courtyard is a print that, when we were at the print room at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Mat noted was not very interesting. In these prints, the decorative aspect is foremost. They don’t stand up well next to dramatic prints like those of Rembrandt, because the energy is more superficial. They need to be seen by themselves, because their charm is in what they are, their decorative aspect, and not so much in how and what they depict, the way a classic etching draws you into the print.

The main thing that is going on is in the interplay between the illusion and the actual marks and tones he has laid down. The emotion of Gauguin, or the mysticism of the other Nabis, is tastefully absent. The view is that of a perceptive, but cool Parisian. The row of windows in the Boulevard is like a syncopated rhythm against which the figures and shapes in the foreground, most of them dark shapes, bounce and harmonize. The energy in the print is from these outlines and their distribution over the surface.

This painting from 1895, The Horse Carriage (30 x 40 cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C.), of a similar subject in a similar treatment shows how prints were more successful in Bonnard’s work in the1890s. The silhouettes in front do not quite work with the brushy scene in the background. They need something more in common to make the contrast effective. As it is it looks like two paintings, or a painting and a cut-out, superimposed. He likes bold, graphic shapes, which are hard to integrate into a traditional painting.

These two works, a painting and a print of the same image – the painting Rue Tholoze, c. 1897 (53 x 68.4 cm, private collection, Texas) and the print Narrow Street Viewed from Above, of 1896-97 (36.8 x 21 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) – again show Bonnard better at using the tools of lithography to express his subject. In the painting, the overall distribution of color, texture, and shapes dissipates the interest. In the lithograph, he has closed in on the subject, and made bold use of contrasts, of pale buildings and darker shopfronts and the street, to make a graphically interesting composition. This print as a painting would lose that contrast: the white could not be as pure and flat without drawing attention to itself, it would not be as simple in its effect. The lines and shading and shapes of people all add to the energy of the print, and these would be lost in the brushy style of his paintings. The surprising viewpoint and distortion and graphic interplay of the windows are realized in a much stronger way with his simpler means.

The prints The Bridge, 1896 (27 x 41 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) and Street Corner, 1897 (27 x 35.5 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) owe a lot to Japanese prints, in their distortion of a street scene into a decorative composition. In these graphics though, as I mentioned above, the composition never degenerates into decoration only. The tension among the elements of the design is one reason. The dark figures on the right are related to, but contrast with, the scraped-back carriages on the bridge. The diagonal of the street and the smaller diagonal of the right hand figures lead you through the image, but in a jerky way, interrupted by the interesting outlines of the figures. In many of the prints are marks which refuse to be identified, like the dark shape on the sidewalk of the Street Corner, which could be a bundle or a person.

These two prints are The Pushcart (1897, 29 x 34 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) and Street at Evening in the Rain (1896, 25.7 x 35.5 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). The main way he escapes the perils of flat decoration is in the interplay between the surface of the design and the illusion of the thing depicted, which is pleasurable and keeps our mind active when we look at the prints. In each of the prints things are distorted, but in such a way that the relationships in space seem even more “right” than in a traditionally rendered picture. This is the skill of a good draughtsman, to be able to place his figures to have their outlines and features work in the composition, while his liberties only emphasize, with how well the work reads as a description of reality, its artificiality, its actual existence as a two-dimensional work. His apparent spontaneity also gives the pictures a feeling of freshness. The abstraction and unusual views are slightly surprising. His color choices are also “right” and seem to be natural.

In the later prints in the series Bonnard makes extensive use of a very coarse crayon scribble texture with his darkest color, giving a sparkling effect, as in the Street at Evening.

As the prints progress, the rectangle gives way. This is one of the last prints in the series, The Avenue du Bois de Boulogne (1898, 32 x 46 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). The Bois de Boulogne was where, in the 1890s, the fashionable would stroll or drive to see and be seen. The imagery is very loosely suggested, and the visual energy is less from the interaction of shapes than from the energy of his lines themselves, the scribbly trees and the indications of shading on the right. He still makes use of dark silhouettes, but the outlines are not as tight as they were earlier. In this print, also, many of the shapes are not readable or barely readable and the effect is much less descriptive than impressionistic, in the sense of conveying an emotional effect,of a little too much light and activity. In this print as in the Street at Evening many shapes only become legible after we view them for a while.

Bonnard’s paintings

The series of color lithographs of Paris did not sell well,46 so Bonnard would not have felt encouraged to do more. Bonnard did do a major set of crayon lithographs in one color to illustrate deluxe editions of Verlaine’s Paralellement (1900) and Longus’ Daphnis and Chloë (1902). Both were published by Ambroise Vollard, who had published the Paris lithographs. Bonnard scholar Sasha Newman argues that these nudes were the beginning of classical and 18th century allusions in his work, and went along with his discovery of Impressionism in the late 1890s.47 After this his lithographs were less innovative, as his creativity was expressed in his paintings.

Bonnard’s most wonderful accomplishment in his prints and in his paintings is the interplay between representation of the objects or the scene, and our awareness of the artist’s marks and the flatness of the actual print or painting. While in the prints the effect is mainly pleasant and decorative, in the paintings he uses this interplay (now with color, rather than graphic shapes and line) to imply another layer of meaning. In both though much of the tension and energy comes from the relation of abstract mark to depiction.

Bonnard’s greatest achievement is in his paintings after about the turn of the century. The ideas and movement begun in his prints are carried on, through the medium of color. The equivalent of the expressive line in the lithographs is brushwork and color in the paintings. The paintings continue the distortion of the prints.

As the critic Max Kozloff48 and others have noted, Bonnard is particularly elusive as a painter. Especially right after his death his paintings were taken by many at their most superficial level, as pretty, stylized representations of a content bourgeouis existence. The fact that he could sell his paintings probably didn’t help this assessment. Viewers now see much more in his work, meanings that come out of how the glittering surface relates to depiction.

This painting, Nude in the Light or L’eau de Cologne from 1908 (124 x 109 cm, Musée Royal des Beaux Arts, Brussels) shows a transition between Bonnard’s more graphic early works and the colorful surface of his later paintings. The main figure in the painting is nearly silhouetted, and much of the energy of the composition is from the line we follow around her body, up from her feet so solidly planted on the floor, over her knee and up the flat curve of her thigh and stomach, and the curves of her buttock and hip, her elbow and breast, the graceful finality of her standing leg. She is not that integrated into the features of the room, which are described with light. Bonnard had “discovered” Impressionism rather late, in the late 1890s.49

In these paintings, Dressing Table and Mirror (124.5 x 109.3 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston) and Dining Room in the Country (164.5 x 205.7 cm, Minneapolis Institute of Art), both from 1913, Bonnard is back to an overall composition, but now instead of graphic shapes and line the painting is realized with color. There are still verticals and horizontals, but these are modified with shadings of color.

The subject

In his paintings after 1913 or so, the woman in the paintings begins to be less and less about a sweet young thing, and less and less about any person at all, and more about his response to her, or even his response to the surface of her body, which came to be no more or less than the other surfaces in the room. These two paintings from 1925 are The Bath (86 x 120 cm, Tate Gallery, London) and Nude in the Bathtub (101.6 x 63.5 cm, private collection)

Bonnard took some charming photographs of his niece and nephews, who look like they had a lot of fun. But the paintings done from the photos don’t work. I think this is because, even though his early paintings do rely somewhat on the inherent charm of their subject, the success is already more dependent on abstract values which can only come when the subject itself is no longer important. This movement was begun in the lithographs, where objects first began to merge their identity with blocks of color or line.

In the paintings the activity is now in the surface itself. The objects and scenes themselves are now devoid of traditional pictoral interest, and hold no inherent charm or picturesqueness. Figures are now no more important than the room itself. As Richard Shone noticed, after about 1913 Bonnard “abandons lamplit interiors, street scenes, multifigure outdoor compositions, and sexually explicit compositions.”50 No more cute babies and erotic nudes.

These two paintings are again of Marthe Bonnard, the subject of the Nude in the Light. The difference is striking: Marthe in real life of course is seventeen years older, in her 50s, though there is no indication of that in the painting. The descriptive, pleasing graphic outline is gone, and her figure, blurred by the water, is reduced to generalized shapes. Her body is completely absorbed into the composition of the painting. In the painting Nude in the Bathtub, with Bonnard’s legs, the primacy of the painting itself over description is emphasized by the fact that what would normally be the focus of a painting with two figures, their heads, are not even in the picture.

Surface and depth

These two paintings are The French Window of 1933 (86 x 112 cm, private collection, Paris) and The Cafe of the Petit Poucet of 1928 (134 x 204 cm, collection G. Besson, Paris). In The Cafe of Petit Poucet Bonnard treats a subject similar to his series of lithographs of the 1890s.The composition is completely dispersed over the surface. But instead of this dissipating the paintings’ energy, as it would have when his means were shapes and line, in these paintings the pieces of color and their relationship to the illusionistic space are the active elements. In the painting, most of the image is actually a reflection in the mirror. In The French Window Bonnard again uses a mirror, which has the effect of making the painting more unreal, while you can’t say anything is actually made up. (In the Bonnard pamphlet from the MOMA exhibition, the tiny figure in the background of a 1936 painting of the same subject is identified as a woman, while in the catalogue it is identified as Bonnard himself, a testament to his ambiguity.) The mirror device makes the the painting’s surface’s relation to the depth of what is depicted even harder to pin down.

The critic Richard Shone observes how “Bonnard’s flickering strategy of advance and retreat in both pictorial and depicted space makes a dreamlike continuum.”51 The distance between the surface, and the actual things and people we can almost see, gives the painting almost physical depth, like a hologram. This abstraction of Bonnard, Jean Clair says, creates the necessary distance to plunge a specific time into “once upon a time.”52

Two detailed articles, by Jean Clair53 and by John Elderfield54 on Bonnard’s use of optical phenomena make use of a quote from his journal, “to show what one sees when one enters a room all of a sudden” to explain how the allover color, texture and composition simulate the effect of seeing something for the first time.55 Clair notes how Bonnard uses mirrors, windows and reflections to “break down the hierarchy of vision”56 as in these two works. This gives it a feeling of freshnesss and spontaneity, the way his jumpy line and unusual shapes worked in the prints.

Jean Clair argues that Bonnard’s depiction is close to how we see things physiologically – that traditional perspective is artificial, and that in actual vision things far away from us can be as important as something close.57 Clair perceptively note that the illusion of seeing all around us all at once, like a panorama, makes us feel “in” rather than “in front of” things.58

First of all in these paintings is the interplay between what is depicted and the surface of the canvas. This becomes a push-pull of depth and shallowness, where the uniformity of intensity of his color defies the simultaneous illusion of depth.59 This is evident in The French Window, where the orange and blues are as intense in the distance, the tree, the sky and horizon, as in the foreground. His use of warm and cool colors in arbitrary (in regard to the illusion of space ) ways also has this effect.60 Max Kozloff notes that, because of the conflict between the brushstrokes and colors and representation, he does not draw you in to what he is depicting.61 Instead everything is present at once.

Memory

These two late paintings, Nude in the Bath of 1937 (no dimensions given, Musée du Petit Palais, Paris) and Nude in a Bathtub of 1946 (122 x 151 cm, Carnegie Institute Museum, Pittsburgh) though ten years apart, show the dissolution of his subject into pure color and surface.

For Bonnard, the key to his art was memory – to have an intense experience, attached to the most common objects, and through working from memory to invest that meaning into the canvas. He worked from sketches and memory, and said, “if the object is there at the moment he is working, the artist is always in danger of allowing himself to be distracted by the effects of direct and immediate vision, and to lose the primary idea on the way.”62 He also said late in life that “If this seduction, this first idea is erased, there is nothing left but the motif, the object, which invades and dominates the painter. From that moment on he is no longer in charge of his own painting.”63

Giambruni says that the Nabis, and Marcel Proust, knew and appreciated the works on consciousness by Henri Bergson. She summarized his teaching as saying there is “no one perceptual reality . . . . The truth of one’s own experience in what Bergson called ‘duration’ is therefore too fluid and complex to be grasped by reason. Only sudden intuition can give us access to memories of past experiences stored in the unconscious. Those memories that spring back to consciousness must have some peculiar value as ‘symbols for the fundamental truths of that internal world of our consciousness which is all we know of reality’ as Edmund Wilson said of Proust.”64

The critic Max Kozloff, too, observes that Bonnard responds to “Nature as a world remembered,”65 and Clair compares Bonnard’s painting to the work of Proust, talking about the “distillation of memory” which allows the painter to recreate his original sensation.66 His concern for recreating the effect of a momentary vision and understanding comes through in the interplay of pattern and illusion.

The effect of this effort is a kind of melancholy, but not an unpleasant one.67 Bonnard once said a picture should be a little world unto itself.68 Marcel Proust was a contemporary, and like Bonnard had the idea that memory was the way to artistic creation. Not conscious memory, but unconscious memory, the kind that adheres to things you don’t give any thought to, and reveals, emotionally, the ineffable meanings of existence. The interest in, and the effect he achieves, of memory, creating or evoking something that is not actually in the scene depicted, is from the 1890s. He did it to some degree in his early work but his paintings from the teens and after are a fuller expression of the idea.

We saw several of Bonnard’s self portraits, including this one from 1938-40 (Self-Portrait, 76 x 61 cm, The Art Gallery of New South Wales) at the Museum of Modern Art show, which, by contrast, illuminate one of the things he was doing in his other paintings. In these portraits, unlike the many pictures he did of Marthe, you sense the presence of a person (as pointed out by Dr. Benge). In the other paintings the figures are shapes, which we see without seeing them as other individuals: we see them as if remembering a scene which reminds us of something, a feeling rather than who was there and who said what. This is accomplished in most of the paintings by cutting off and distorting the figure, so that the identity is obscured. Figures rarely or never look in our direction. And the figures are treated in the same way as the room, blending their identity still more with the background, in the surface of the painting.

In the portrait, though the figure is not looking at us, his face is the main thing in the painting, and there is no overlooking it, the way you can lose entire people in other works. He looks old and sad in an almost disturbing way: there is the poignancy of the artificial light on his balding head, his skinny neck, and the way his face is obscured in shadow as if it does not matter.

The room of late self-portraits at the MoMA show was almost painful, and shed a different light on to the other, more indirect, paintings in the other rooms, and made you realize the subtext of melancholy and reflection, even in the brightest and most subjectless.

The painter and critic Patrick Heron, in an essay written shortly after Bonnard’s death, argues that Bonnard’s success is in the relationship of reality and abstraction. He says that while the value of the painting is its abstraction, it is powerful because it bears reference to real things, as opposed to intentional abstraction, which, being more intellectual, is more sterile.69 He says, “the form of objects hardly exists in isolation from the total configuration.”70 Heron also notes the tension of the relationship between surface and illusionistic depth, “characteristic of all great painting.”71

In addition, Patrick Heron notes that Bonnard, unlike Picasso or other abstract painters, did not make his objects allude to other objects. “But Bonnard’s method was to invest more and more quality, more and more beauty into those unfeigning objects of his, which remained themselves throughout.”72

However, Heron argues that what Bonnard had, and what was missing in British art in 1947, was an optimistic pleasure in visual reality.73 I disagree. Bonnard was using visual reality, but I hope that his “pleasure” was not in the appearance of things but in ideas that came to him, that he could convey, by making his paintings of the objects, in which the meaning hovers between the illusion and pattern, and has nothing to do with an original pleasure of perception itself.

Even though Remembrance of Things Past is all about the past slipping away, which is sad, the melancholy world of the hero is at the same time beautiful and pleasant, because it is its own world with its own laws and wholeness. In the same way, a room full of Bonnard paintings leaves one with a feeling of sadness, even though the colors are so bright; yet it is a pleasant melancholy, because in the unity, the new creation which can only arise from the connection between the things seen in pictures and the colors and patterns, Bonnard suggests the unity and meaningfulness and ultimate mystery of existence.

This is a photo taken in the early 1980s of the actual bathroom at Pierre Bonnard’s last house, le Bosquet, in the south of France.74 I think it is useful to see how far from the descriptive Bonnard’s paintings were, and how successfully he created his own, parallel world in the layer of paint.

In his paintings as in his prints Bonnard, more than other artists, made use of the interplay between the artist’s marks and illusionistic representation. In the prints the effect of this interplay was fresh and personal; in the paintings he used it to express deeper meanings. In developing this purely visual language he took to a fulfilling degree ideas of the 1890s, which are fundamental to modern art: the idea that art is the way to true reality, in a way logic and analysis cannot approach; and the idea that to express this the artist must transform what he sees and experiences with the tools of visual art: marks and illusion.

* Titles of paintings shown as slides are in bold face.

1 Sara Whitfield, “Fragments of an Identical World,” in Sara Whitfield and John Elderfield, Bonnard (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1998), 256.

2 Thomas Parsons and Iain Gale, Post-Impressionism: The Rise of Modern Art, foreword by Bernard Denvir (London: Studio Editions, 1992), 139.

3 John Rewald, Post-Impressionism – From van Gogh to Gauguin (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1978), 252.

4 H. R. Rookmaaker, Gauguin and 19th Century Art Theory (Amsterdam: Swets & Zeitlinger, 1972), 2-4.

5 Charles Chassé, The Nabis and Their Period, trans. Michael Bullock (New York, Washington: Frederick A. Praeger Inc., Publishers, 1969), 9.

6 Gloria Groom, Edouard Vuillard: Painter-Decorator: Patrons and Projects, 1892-1912 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993), 8.

7 Chassé, 14.

8 Rewald, 181, 182.

9 Ibid., 181-184.

10 Ibid., 256-260.

11 Helen Giambruni, “Domestic Scenes,” in Colta Ives, Helen Giambruni and Sasha Newman, Pierre Bonnard: The Graphic Art (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989), 54.

12 Rookmaaker, 134.

13 Giambruni, 60.

14 Pierre Louis [Maurice Denis], “Definition du néo-traditionnisme,” Art et Critique [23 August 1890], 540, quoted in Groom, 11.

15 Colta Feller Ives, The Great Wave: The Influence of Japanese Woodcuts on French Prints (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1974), 7.

16 Ives, “City Life,” in Ives, Giambruni and Newman, Bonnard Graphic Art, 100.

17 Guy Michaud, Mallarmé, trans. Marie Collins and Bertha Humez (New York: New York University Press, 1965), 32.

18 Grange Wooley, Stéphane Mallarmé, 1842-1898. A commemorative presentation including translations from his prose and verse with commentaries (Madison, New Jersey: Drew University, 1942; repr., New York: AMS Press, n. d.), 43-50.

19 Ives, “An Art for Everyday,” in Ives, Giambruni and Newman, Bonnard Graphic Art, 13.

20 Rewald, 153-165.

21No reference given, quoted in Chassé, 30.

22 Chassé, 24, 25.

23 Groom, 11

24Parsons, 62.

25 Chassé, 24, 25; Parsons, 80, 81; Groom, 11.

26Stuart Preston, Edouard Vuillard (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 1985), 22.

27No reference given, quoted in Chassé, 30.

28Preston, 21.

29Thadée Natanson, Peints á leur tour (Paris: Editions Albin Michel, 1948), 320, quoted in Ives “An Art for Everyday,” 13.

30Paul Verlaine, “Art Poétique,” Selected Poems, trans. C. F. MacIntyre (Berkeley/Los Angeles, 1961), 180-181, in Giambruni, 81.

31Jules Heret, “Enquête sur l’évolution littéraire,” in L’Echo de Paris, 14 March 1891, 2; reprinted in Les Interviews de Mallarmé, edited by Dieter Schwartz (Neuchâtel: 1995), 30-31; quoted by Whitfield, 12, 13.

32 Giambruni, 91

33 Whitfield, 10

34 Preston, 15

35 Rookmaaker, 168.

36 Groom, 12.

37 Peter Shjeldahl, The Hydrogen Jukebox: Selected Writings of Peter Schjeldahl (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1991), 194.

38Chassé, 58.

39Ibid., 83.

40 Ives, “An Art for Everyday,” 10; Preston, 12; Groom, 11.

41Charles S. Moffett, The New Painting: Impressionism 1874-1886 (Geneva: Richard Burton, SA, 1986), 102.

42 Giambruni, 91.

43 Chassé, 121.

44 Ives, The Great Wave, 61.

45 Newman, 175.

46Ives, “City Life,” 134.

47 Newman, 175-77.

48 Max Kozloff, “A Vertigo of the Senses,” Art in America 86, no. 7 (July 1998): 54-61.

49 Newman, 175.

50 Richard Shone, “Pierre Bonnard,” Artforum 36, no. 9 (May 1998): 139.

51 Shone, 139.

52 Jean Clair, “The adventures of the optic nerve,” in Sasha M. Newman et al., Bonnard: The Late Paintings, edited by Sasha M. Newman, with introduction by John Russell (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1984), 30.

53 Ibid., 29-50.

54John Elderfield, “Seeing Bonnard,” in Whitfield and Elderfield, Bonnard, 33-52.

55Clair, 44; Elderfield, 37.

56Clair, 37.

57 Clair, 35-36.

58 Ibid., 44.

59 Ibid.

60 Ibid., 42.

61 Kozloff, 56.

62AngèleLamotte, “Le Bouquet de roses; Propos de Pierre Bonnard recuillis en 1943,” Verve 5 no. 17-18 (1947): 75-77, quoted in Ives, “An Art for Everyday,” 13.

63Quoted in Joan Ungersma Halperin, Félix Fénéon: Aesthete and Anarchist in Fin-de-Siècle Paris (New Haven and London: 1988), 100, quoted in Giambruni, 85.

64Giambruni, 87.

65 Kozloff, 56.

66 Clair, 31.

67 Shone, 139.

68 John Russel, The Meanings of Modern Art (New York: Harper and Row, 1981), 274.

69 Patrick Heron, The Changing Forms of Art: Studies in contemporary painting and sculpture (New York: The Noonday Press, 1958), 119.

70 Ibid., 122.

71 Ibid.

72 Ibid., 126.

73 Ibid., 128-29.

74 photo by Sargy Mann, in Elderfield and Whitfield, 261.

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