Pierre Bonnard, ‘La Revue Blanche’, 1894, Omnibus Gallery

Year: 1894
Country: France
Condition: A+
Bonnard’s best-known and most enigmatic poster advertises the monthly La Revue Blanche, published by his close friends, the Natansons. The significance of this image eludes us today and seems not to have been all that clear when published. Maindron admitted that he could not understand it, but found that “nonetheless it’s quite curious.” Bouvet attempts an analysis: “the strange form [at right] apparently following the young woman, is in fact a man, seen from behind, an opera hat on his head and coat collar turned up, reading the poster for the Revue on the wall” (p. 36). The design itself is quite ahead of its time, creating a geometric pattern out of other posters for the publication, while simultaneously contrasting the sassy pose and voluptuous costume of the female reader against the grisly nature of the street urchin to her right.

Signature: Signed in stone by artist, middle left side.

Publisher: Éditions de La Revue Blanche, Paris

About Pierre Bonnard

Known for painting light-soaked interiors, nudes and still lives, Pierre Bonnard’s lush canvases echo Claude Monet and Henri Matisse. Bonnard played a central role in Nabis, a group emphasizing the basic aesthetic properties of painting. Describing his method, Bonnard has said, “the principal subject is the surface, which has its color, its laws over and above those of object.” Rather than simply observe and reproduce the world around him, Bonnard sought to instill each picture with, in the words of Nabis colleague Maurice Denis, “a beauty outside nature.”

French, 1867-1947, Fontenay-aux-Roses, France, based in Paris, France