Bonnard, Spring Sunset
A member of the Nabis group, formed in the wake of Paul Gauguin’s pictorial language, but little inclined to the mysticism professed by his colleagues, Pierre Bonnard was an autonomous artist who was also very active in the applied arts. After his experience with Nabis and Synthetism, Bonnard embraced a softer style, a poetic and evocative Impressionism, with clear affinities with the linguistic innovations of the early 20th-century art scene.
This springtime landscape provides an interesting basis for understanding the reinterpretation of Impressionism proposed by Bonnard. The work fully embodiesboth the lesson of Impressionism and the modern innovations that grew from it. In addition to the obvious Japanese influence of its simplified forms and spatial composition (the influence of Japanese prints on European artists in the second half of the 19thcentury is well known), the painting also contains several very modern elements: the use of a bold palette, passages in which the brushwork has an almost Expressionist flavour, and a tendency towards abstraction, all of which clearly foreshadow Bonnard’s entry into a new creative dimension, increasingly oriented towards the new century.