Woman with a Lamp

MAKER:
Artist

Pierre Bonnard ( French, 1867 - 1947 )

DATE:
1909
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General Description

Although trained as an attorney, Pierre Bonnard abandoned law to pursue painting. In his twenties, along with Paul Sérusier and Félix Vallotton (whose works are on view nearby), he joined an artist group called the Nabis (from the Hebrew word for prophet). The Nabis rejected painting as an objective representation of the world and instead championed its decorative function, embracing simplified lines and flattened bands of color. Painted after the group disbanded, Woman with a Lamp shows Bonnard’s continued interest in depicting women in contemplative moments within domestic interiors. The flat patches of dissolving color draw attention to the ornamental and dreamy quality of the painting. For Bonnard, color was of primary importance, a way of expressing his artistic vision. Here, the long red tablecloth, a recurring motif in his later work, is the dominant note in this quiet, intimate scene. Nicole R. Myers The Lillian and James H. Clark Curator of European Painting and Sculpture March 2018