History And Context


The Palm exemplifies Pierre Bonnard’s mature achievement, in which his gifts as a colorist and draftsman were in full flower. It is a luminous elegy on the process of seeing as revelation and sensual delight.

Bonnard’s first impression of the Mediterranean coast was “an experience akin to the thousand and one nights; the sea, the yellow walls, the reflections which are as colored as the light effects.” Yet he found the southern light alien at first, writing, “I can’t paint here; there are no colors.” But by seeking a vantage point from the shadows, as he did in The Palm, he found that the brilliance could come alive, the nuances of color animated by the deep shades in the foreground.

The view of Cannes and the surrounding hills formed the matrix of Bonnard’s landscapes from the twenties onward, recalling Cézanne’s preoccupation with Mont Sainte-Victoire in Provence. Bonnard worked in southern France for part of almost every year, by 1922 favoring Le Cannet, the village above Cannes.

More Works by Pierre Bonnard In the Collection


Ants
Pierre Bonnard
1904
Boulevard
Pierre Bonnard
1899
Canaries
Pierre Bonnard
1904

Children and Cat
Pierre Bonnard
1909
Circus Rider
Pierre Bonnard
1894
Cows Under a Tree
Pierre Bonnard
1904

Dogs
Pierre Bonnard
1893
Early Spring
Pierre Bonnard
1908
Grape Harvest
Pierre Bonnard
1926

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