Pierre Bonnard: The Memory of Colors
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In autumn and winter 2019/20 the Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien presented »Pierre Bonnard - The Color of Memory«. 1867–1947), the first retrospective in Austria devoted to this enigmatic French post-Impressionist painter. The exhibition mainly concentrates on Bonnard’s work in his later years, which began to take shape after his first visit to the Côte d’Azur in 1909 and his profound experience of Mediterranean light. Bonnard had mainly lived in Paris and Central France; throughout his late works, his palette changed and the incandescent colors of the south redefined his oeuvre.

The exhibition focuses on color as central vehicle of the artist’s pictorial language. Bonnard develops and models not only moods but entire compositions by means of color harmonies and dissonances, by means of contrasts and the interplay of warm and cool tones. The sophisticated combination and opposition of color values are only one of the means for him of questioning nature’s harmony. He plays just as subtly with spatial ambiguities or “gaps” in the placement of his human figures – time and again he endeavors, as he formulates himself, to “overcome nature through art”.

Even if Bonnard’s color painting in the late pictures approaches the borders of abstraction. In contrast to the avant-garde of the early century, he never questioned the representational mode. This is probably why shortly after his death he was classified as still being a representative of a superficial harmony and “harmless” chronicler of everyday, haute-bourgeois life. In actual fact, Bonnard’s poetry of everyday life is based on a subtle confrontation with his environment. With enigmatic visualizations of things from memory perception, Bonnard ventures into a no-man’s-land between flat and three-dimensional space, color and materiality, which as contemplations of a subtle painting culture lead him to an inimitable expression of his individuality.

Bonnard’s multifaceted and constantly surprising work will be presented with many loans from international museums including the Tate in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery in Washington, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, and renowned private collections.

The exhibition has been organized in cooperation with the Tate London and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Copenhagen.

The exhibition was on view from October 10, 2019 to January 12th, 2020.
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The Ckeckered Table Cloth, 1916
, Nappe à carreaux, oil on canvas, 50,8 × 67,3 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Partial and Promised Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Dillon, 1998 © 2019. The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Scala, Florenz
Sunset, 1912, Le Soleil couchant, oil on canvas, 63 × 53 cm. Kunsthaus, Zürich
Still Life with a Figure (Marthe Bonnard), 1912
, Nature morte à la figure (Marthe Bonnard), oil on canvas, 42 × 73 cm. Private Collection.
Die sonnige Terrasse, 1939-46, oil on canvas, 71 x 236 cm. Private Collection.
Festival on the Water, 1913 La fête sur l‘eau, oil on canvas, 73 × 100,3 cm Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. Purchased through the generosity of Mrs Alan M. Scaife
Coffee, 1915
, Le Café, oil on canvas, 73 × 106,4 cm. Tate. Presented by Sir Michael Sadler through the Art Fund 1941 © Tate, 2019
A Figure in a Bath Tub, 1918
 Nu accroupi au tub, oil on canvas, 85 × 74 cm. Musée d’Orsay, Paris. Donation Zeïneb et Jean-Pierre Marcie-Rivière, 2010 © Musée d’Orsay/RMN
ABowl of Milch, circa 1919
, Le Bol de lait, oil on canvas, 116,2 × 121 cm. Tate. Bequeathed by Edward Le Bas 1967 © Tate, 2019
An Open Door to the Garden, circa 1924, La Porte ouverte sur le jardin, oil on canvas, 109 × 104 cm. Private Collection, Courtesy Jill Newhouse Gallery, New York
The Bath Tub, 1925
, Baignoire (Le Bain), oil on canvas, 86 × 120,6 cm. Tate. Presented by Lord Ivor Spencer Churchill through the Contemporary Art Society 1930, N04495 © Tate, 2019
The Windows, 1925
, La Fenêtre, oil on canvas, 108,6 × 88,6 cm. Tate. Presented by Lord Ivor Spencer Churchill through the Contemporary Art Society 1930, N04494 © Tate, 2019
The Vernon Dining Room, circa 1925, 
La Salle à manger, Vernon, oil on canvas, 126 × 184 cm. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Kopenhagen Photo: Ole Haupt
The Table, 1925, 
La Table oil on canvas, 102,9 × 74,3 cm. Tate. Presented by the Courtauld Fund Trustees 1926, N04134 © Tate, 2019
Figure in the Bath Tub, 1925, Nu dans la baignoire, oil on canvas, 104,8 × 65,4 cm. Tate. Bequeathed by Simon Sainsbury 2006, accessioned 2008 © Tate, 2019
Terrace in the South, circa 1925, Terrasse dans le Midi, oil on canvas, 68 × 73 cm. Collection Fonds Glénat, Grenoble, Frankreich
Snow Effect, or Le Cannet in the Snow, 1927, Effet de neige or Le Cannet sous la neige, oil on canvas, 74 × 49 cm. Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Geschenk von Dr. Herbert und Charlotte Wolfer-de Armas, 1973
Figure before a Mirror, 1931, Nu au miroir, oil on canvas, 153,5 × 104,3 cm. Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna di Ca’ Pesaro © Photo Archive - Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia
Figure in an Interior, circa 1935, Nu dans un intérieur, oil on canvas, 134 × 69,2 cm National Gallery of Art, Washington, Collection of Mr and Mrs Paul Mellon
Landscape in the South, 1939
, Paysage du Midi, oil on canvas, 40 × 75 cm. Private Collection, Germany
Terrace in the Sunlight, 1939–46
, La Terrasse ensoleillée, oil on canvas, 71 × 236 cm. Private Collection
In the Bathroom, circa 1940
, Dans la salle de bain, oil on canvas, 92 × 61 cm. Private collection
The Dessert, circa 1940
, Le Dessert, oil on canvas,, 46,3 × 65,3 cm. Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, Sammlung Beyeler Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel
Almond Tree Blossoms, 1946/47, L’Amandier en fleurs, oil on canvas, 55 × 37,5 cm. Musée d’Orsay, Paris, déposé au Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’Art moderne – Centre de création industrielle, Donation Mr. et Mme. Charles Zadok, 1964. © Musée d’Orsay/RMN
The Breakfast near a Warmer, circa 1930, Le petit dejeuner au radiateur, oil on canvas, 64,1 × 73,8 cm Private Collection
The Staircase of the Garden of the Artist, 1942–4
, L’Escalier dans le jardin de l’artiste, oil on canvas, 63 × 73 cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Alisa Mellon Bruce Collection, 1970. 17.11
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