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Pierre Bonnard, Der Kaffee, 1915, Le Café, Öl auf Leinwand, 73 × 106,4 cm , Tate. Presented by Sir Michael Sadler through the Art Fund 1941 © Tate, London 2019


Pierre Bonnard

The Color of Memory

10.10.2019 - 12.01.2020

Pierre Bonnard, Das Fenster, 1925, La Fenêtre, Öl auf Leinwand, 108,6 × 88,6 cm , Tate. Presented by Lord Ivor Spencer Churchill through the Contemporary Art Society 1930, N04494 © Tate, London 2019Pierre Bonnard, Akt mit Badezuber, 1918, Nu accroupi au tub, Öl auf Leinwand, 85 × 74 cm,  Musée d’Orsay, Paris. Donation Zeïneb et Jean-Pierre Marcie-Rivière, 2010 © Musée d’Orsay/RMNPierre Bonnard, Die Schale Milch, um 1919, Le Bol de lait, Öl auf Leinwand, 116,2 × 121 cm , Tate. Bequeathed by Edward Le Bas 1967 © Tate, London 2019Pierre Bonnard, Die Treppe im Garten des Künstlers, 1942–4, L’Escalier dans le jardin de l’artiste, Öl auf Leinwand, 63 × 73 cm © National Gallery of Art, Washington, Alisa Mellon Bruce Collection, 1970. 17.11Pierre Bonnard, Die Wanne (Das Bad), 1925, Baignoire (Le Bain), Öl auf Leinwand, 86 × 120,6 cm , Tate. Presented by Lord Ivor Spencer Churchill through the Contemporary Art Society 1930, N04495 © Tate, London 2019Pierre Bonnard, Meeresufer, Rotes Feld, um 1939, Bord de la mer, champ rouge, Öl auf Leinwand, 34,5 × 50 cm © PrivatbesitzPierre Bonnard, Sonnenuntergang, 1912, Le Soleil couchant, Öl auf Leinwand, 63 × 53 cm © Kunsthaus, ZürichPierre Bonnard, Akt in einem Interieur, um 1935, Nu dans un intérieur, Öl auf Leinwand, 134 × 69,2 cm © National Gallery of Art, Washington, Collection of Mr and Mrs Paul MellonPierre Bonnard, Stilleben mit Figur (Marthe Bonnard), 1912, Nature morte à la figure (Marthe Bonnard), Öl auf Leinwand, 42 × 73 cm © Privatbesitz

In autumn and winter 2019/20 the Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien is showing the work of the post-Impressionist Pierre Bonnard 1867–1947) – the first retrospective in Austria devoted to this enigmatic painter. The exhibition concentrates on Bonnard’s mature work, which begins 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; now his palette changes, and the incandescent colours of the south begin to define his oeuvre – and characterise it also throughout his late work.


Accordingly, the exhibition focuses on colour as central vehicle of the artist’s pictorial language. Bonnard develops and models not only moods but entire compositions by means of colour harmonies and dissonances, by means of contrasts and the interplay of warm and cool tones. The sophisticated combination and opposition of colour values is 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 endeavours, as he formulates himself, to “overcome nature through art”.

Even if Bonnard’s colour painting in the late pictures approaches the borders of abstraction, in contrast to the avant-garde of the early century he never questions 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, haut-bourgeois life. In actual fact, Bonnard’s poetry of everyday life is based on a subtle confrontation with his environment. With enigmatic visualisations of things from memory perception, Bonnard ventures into a no-man’s-land between flat and three-dimensional space, colour 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, also from renowned private collections.

The exhibition is being organised in cooperation with the Tate London and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Copenhagen.

curated by

Evelyn benesch

Matthew Gale (Tate)


Tate, London

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen


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