Pierre Bonnard Meets Japan in Aix-en-Provence Exhibition

Pierre Bonnard Meets Japan in Aix-en-Provence Exhibition

The summer exhibition of the Hôtel de Caumont in sunny Aix-en-Provence focuses on painter Pierre Bonnard’s love and respect for Japanese art.

Pierre Bonnard was known as the ‘painter of joy’ due to his vibrant sense of colour and representations of movement. But he had another nickname too, the ‘very Japanese Nabi’ and it is the influence of Japanese art on Bonnard’s work which is the focus of the Hôtel de Caumont’s summer exhibition.

In the late 1800s, all things Japanese became fashionable both in France and England, sparked by Japan’s first participation in the 1867 Universal Exhibition. Japan’s presence had an effect on Bonnard, evidenced in his adoption of new aesthetic principles such as supple movement, contrasting colours, arabesque lines, a taste for decor and stylised elements, and the flattening of space.

This is the first exhibition focusing on how Bonnard integrated the aesthetics of Japanese art into his treatment of space, time and movement, creating works that broke with naturalism and Impressionism. The exhibition creates a visual dialogue with Japanese prints to illustrate their formal affinities, as well as the importance of this source of inspiration for the artist. It is also a homecoming of sorts as one of Bonnard’s homes was in Le Cannet, not far from Aix-en- Provence where this flagship exhibition is held.

May 3 to October 6


Lead photo credit : Pierre-Bonnard-Terrasse-dans-le-Midi-vers-1925-©-akg-images-Fine-Art-Images-Heritage

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