Along with nature, which was his emotional sanctuary, Bonnard saw his relationship with animals as paramount. Until this exhibition, which brings together a group of major works, the impact of the essential presence of animals in his paintings, beyond its anecdotal surface meaning, has never been explored. Bonnard made us accustomed to this disguised simplicity, which masks work that is far more complex than it appears.
While animals occupied a prominent place in images from prehistoric times, testifying to their vital presence in the cycle of the living world, the modern world, which has placed man at the centre of the universe, has gradually demoted them: the thread that traces the future of men and animals unravels in Bonnard’s work. This view is elucidated in this catalogue by Jean Exékias’ reflection on the matter, which goes well beyond Bonnard, right up to the present day. The essential contributions of Gilles Genty, Alain Lévêque and Véronique Serrano reposition the painter in a societal, historical and pictorial context.
Le Cannet, Musée Bonnard, July - November 2016