- Pierre Bonnard
- LA SEINE PRÈS DE VERNON
- signed Bonnard and dated 1926 (lower right)
- oil on canvas
- 260 by 150cm.
- 102 3/8 by 59in.
Jean & Henry Dauberville, Bonnard. Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, Paris, 1973, vol. III, no. 1350, illustrated p. 284
This monumental painting was commissioned from Bonnard by a private collector for his Paris appartment, and has remained in the same collection to this day. It depicts the landscape at Vernon, on the right bank of the river Seine. Bonnard moved to the village of Vernonnet, near Vernon, in 1912, and lived in a small house known as 'Ma Roulotte' until the late 1920s. Vernonnet is situated only a few kilometres west of Giverny, where Monet had lived and worked for nearly thirty years, and the two men became close friends. Unlike Monet, who painted his carefully planned garden, Bonnard was fascinated with the wild nature around the river Seine, and the wild flowers, shrubs and trees in his overgrown garden. He painted a number of views from the large balcony of 'Ma Roulotte', and often ventured down the river where he painted the poplars and willows that lined its banks.
La Seine près de Vernon reflects the artist's fascination with the lush nature of the region, which he transformed into a rich, yet carefully developed composition. The wild trees on the river bank act as a window that reveals the water and the expanses of sky and nature beyond it. The human presence is suggested through the people on the small boat that is mainly hidden behind the trees, overshadowed by the exuberant nature. Jörg Zutter wrote about Bonnard's landscapes in the vicinity of Vernon: 'The dialogue between architecture and nature, wildness and domesticity, people and landscape, is sublimely expressed. Nature and organic life dominate, pushing the human figures to the edges and subsuming them into the surroundings' (J. Zutter in Pierre Bonnard: Observing Nature (exhibition catalogue), National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2003, p. 54).