The Magazine

Final Impressionist

Along the Riviera, Pierre Bonnard gets his due.

Jul 20, 2009, Vol. 14, No. 41 • By PIA CATTON
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Bonnard's "Basket of Fruit in the Sun" (1927) could be his own memory of a similar spread. On a narrow table with a printed tablecloth are various items including a basket and bowl filled with fruit. The table casts a short, dark shadow while the rest of the painting is a mottled yellow, orange, and green field that suggests both grass and bright sunlight. Even when he worked with white, as in the tablecloth in "Lunch or Breakfast" (1932), everything else in the painting glows with color: a small blue cup, a vase of flowers, the overlapping colors of the walls and structure of the interior. "Dining Room on the Garden" (1934-35) captivates with a view of both the interior (with a table, chair, and fruit in bowls) and a view of the intensely blue and green garden.

It seems absurd that a case for Bonnard needs to be made. But with the Met's show and the creation of the new museum in Le Cannet, his legacy may have its own renaissance.

Pia Catton is life editor of Politico.