Jennifer Bartlett & Pierre Bonnard

In and Out of the Garden

June 27 - September 20, 2020

Jennifer Bartlett & Pierre Bonnard: In and Out of the Garden explores two artists’ creative dialogue with gardens and nature: French Post-Impressionist painter Pierre Bonnard (b. 1867, Fontenay-aux-Roses; d. 1947, Le Cannet) and contemporary American artist Jennifer Bartlett (b. 1941, Long Beach, California). Both were avid gardeners, and gardens—especially the ones they created for themselves—had a lifelong influence on both artist’s works. Bringing together 39 paintings, drawings, and prints by both artists, this vibrant summer presentation demonstrates how Bonnard and Bartlett’s gardens are connected across time and place through their profusion of colors and textures and conceptual and experimental approach to painting.

Garden views from both inside the house and the outside became defining subjects in Bonnard's and Barlett’s work. Gardens are a recurrent theme in Bonnar’s oeuvre, from the early days of Le Clos, his summer house in Le Grand-Lemps in the Dauphiné, to his final house and studio, Le Bousquet in Le Cannet, a town north of Cannes. The unruly patterns in Bonnard’s personal gardens, which he allowed to grow wild, is mirrored in his later painting style of interconnected patches of color. Jennifer Bartlett emerged in the mid-1970s to become one of the leading American artists of her time. In winter 1979–80, a trip to the south of France inspired a series of 200 drawings, many of the same garden scene, using different techniques, styles, and media, evoking the styles of Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, and Bonnard. In 2007, Bartlett began a series of scenes around her cottage in Long Island using a new technique in which she freely paints crosshatched marks that obscure her imagery, a style further developed in a series from 2010–11 of her garden in Brooklyn. In and Out of the Garden includes selections from Bartlett’s monumental series, alongside major canvases and drawings by Bonnard from the Phillips’s collection as well as loans from other museums.

This exhibition is organized by The Phillips Collection.

With generous support provided by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, The Paula Ballo Dailey Memorial Fund, Eric Richter and Charles Shoener, and the Ednah Root Foundation.