Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Last weekend, I visited Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco for an exhilarating special exhibition, Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia.
Bonnard, an often also-run amongst other marquee names in some Impressionism or Post-Impressionism blockbuster shows, richly deserved a place of his own. Viewed together, the body of his works was truly impressive and deeply moving, other than being overshadowed by others here and there of his incidental presences.
A most amazing colorist, Bonnard used his explosive colors to portrait multilayered people, interior and exteriors, and extended into their psychology. His oeuvres were far beyond the narrowly defined Arcadia implied by the title of this exhibition.
It did start with some decorative works, with main focus on patterns of floras and dresses, with muted colors than his later works:
Twilight - The Croquet Game
The Large Garden
His attention then shifted to interior and his exploring of human psyche got deeper, though ostentatiously playful still:
The Checkered Blouse & Two Poodles
The White Cat
Reading the Newspaper
Woman with Cat or The Demanding Cat
The Bowl of Milk
Lunch by the Lamp
The Work Table
Dining Area at Le Cannet
In some of works, his palette became somber and cool, and even devastating, prefiguring the equally disturbing Edward Hopper:
The Breakfast Room
The highlights of this exhibition and his outputs were his nudes — languid women confined in spaces dissected into stripes of various colors and patterns, often full of vigor and charged emotions.
The Dressing Table
Woman Dozing on a Bed or The Indolent Woman
Man and Woman
Homage to Maillol
The Dressing Room, Nude with Mirror, or Nude Before the Mirror & The Dressing Room or Pink Dressing Room
Nude in an Interior
Nude with Back to Her Toilet, Woman at Her Dressing Table, or Yellow Harmony
Somber Nude (Dina Vierny)
Nude in the Bathtub
The Bathtub or The Bath
His group portraits, a bit intentionally caricaturistic, impressed with their virtuosic and witty compositions.
The Café "Au Petit Poucet", Place Clichy in the Evening
Evening by the Lamp
A Bourgeois Afternoon or The Terrasse Family
His portraits, particularly self-portrait, were direct and frank, to the point that I felt the need to avert my eyes under his unflinching gaze.
The Boxer (Portrait of the Artist)
Self-Portrait of the Artist
Finally, there were some wonderful cityscapes and landscapes, and more of some decorative works based on biblical stories and Greek mythology, though the latter group didn't exert as much hold on me:
View of the Port, Saint-Tropez
Trouville, the Exit of the Port
Almond Tree in Bloom
The Abduction of Europa
On the Boat
Overall, a most marvelous tribute to a first-rate master, often a tad overlooked by curator and viewers.
Other Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst:
- My Favorite Paintings at Museum of Legion of Honor, San Francisco
- Birth of Impressionism at De Young Museum, San Francisco
- Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne and Beyond: Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay at De Young Museum, San Francisco
- Venetian Masterpieces from Vienna at De Young Museum
- Post-Impressionism Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay, De Young Museum, San Francisco 2010-11
- Get Ready for the Treasures from Musée d’Orsay