The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in Melbourne is showcasing a unique retrospective exhibition on the acclaimed French painter, Pierre Bonnard. Presented as part of the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series, the show includes over 100 artworks from Bonnard’s career that have been loaned out from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, along with various institutions across the world.
While Bonnard’s work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions in the past, what sets this show apart is the way in which it is presented. Made in collaboration with Iranian-French architect and designer, India Mahdavi, visitors will be able to figuratively walk into the colorful scenes of Modern France at the turn of the 19th century — from the picturesque south to the streets of Paris, the latter of which he once referred to as the “theatre of the everyday.”
This cinematic nod is noteworthy, for Bonnard was one of the first painters to draw inspiration from the burgeoning medium of film in his work, thanks to close ties with early filmmakers, such as Auguste and Louis Lumière, whose work will also be screened alongside Bonnard’s vibrant scenes.
Inspired by the Impressionists, Bonnard began channeling his own singular vision at the start of the 20th century. Going from the decorative illustrations he was known for early in his career, the French artist began blurring the lines of representation through colorful paintings that reflect the human condition. “Certainly color had carried me away,” Bonnard once remarked. “I sacrificed form to it almost unconsciously.”
Casting his art for a new set of eyes, Mahdavi created a harmonious interior space that complements Bonnard’s sense of color and texture. “Space is not only about physical comfort or visual comfort, it’s also emotional comfort,” Mahdavi noted on the show, “and I think that color brings that to me. It’s part of my expression.”
For those looking to attend the exhibition, Pierre Bonnard will be on view at NGV Melbourne until October 8.
In case you missed it, Ben Sanders’ giant bottle cap artworks take over Marta gallery.
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