Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) was born at Fontenay-aux-Roses, near Paris, into the family of a high-ranking official in the French War Ministry. After an idyllic and happy childhood, in 1886, Pierre entered the University of Paris to study law. In 1893, he met 16-year-old Marthe de Méligny, of whose real name of Maria Boursin Bonnard was not aware of until they got married 32 years later. From their meeting a large part of his art revolved around her notably this veritable hymn to voluptuousness.

This woman spread out for all to see after lovemaking is the epitome of unveiled intimacy, violent, passionate and sombre and, in the end, very "fin de siècle" ; she is certainly his Marthe.

After seeing this painting, the famous art dealer and publisher Ambroise Vollard asked Bonnard to illustrate a collection of Paul Verlaine's poetry. His paintings of the late 1890s are very personal and intimate like this Indolente (1899).

In 1918 Bonnard was made the honorary president of a society of young French painters. In 1926 he bought a house named 'Le Bosquet' at Le Cannet on the Côte d'Azur. The house remained his main place of residence and work until his death. The same year, 1926 year, he visited the USA.

In 1983 this picture sold for £ 302,400 ($471,744). It is an oil on canvas, 96x106 cm now in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris.

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