- Pierre Bonnard
- LES POTS VERTS SUR LA TERRASSE
- stamped Bonnard (lower right)
- oil on canvas
- 52 by 83.8cm.
- 20 1/2 by 33in.
Mr & Mrs Neison Harris, Chicago (acquired from the above on 18th February 1971)
Private Collection, USA (by descent from the above. Sale: Christie's, New York, 1st November 2005, lot 6)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner
Marseille, Musée Cantini, Pierre Bonnard, 1967, no. 23, illustrated in the catalogue (as dating from circa 1930)
London, Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd., Pierre Bonnard, 1969, no. 7, illustrated in colour in the catalogue (as dating from circa 1925-30)
Les Pots verts sur la terrasse was painted in 1912, during Bonnard's stay in Grasse, near Cannes in the south of France. Fascinated by the lush nature that surrounded him, in the present work he depicted a view from the balcony of villa Antoinette, which he rented during his sojourn in Grasse. His dealer Josse Bernheim-Jeune came to visit Bonnard several times, and took photographs of the beautiful villa Antoinette (fig. 1). During his stay in this region, Bonnard found inspiration for his paintings in his immediate surroundings, as he would later that year, when he moved into 'Ma Roulotte' in Vernonnet. He painted the present work, and another larger version (J. & H. Dauberville, op. cit., no. 698) showing the view from the balcony of the villa, surrounded by rich vegetation and palm trees, and the sea in the background.
As a landscape painter, Bonnard was always fascinated by light and colour, and in the present work he beautifully rendered the unique quality of light in the Mediterranean. As James Elliott observed: 'Bonnard was essentially a colorist. He devoted his main creative energies to wedding his sensations of color from nature to those from paint itself – sensations which he said thrilled and even bewildered him. Perceiving color with a highly developed sensitivity, he discovered new and unfamiliar effects from which he selected carefully, yet broadly and audaciously. [...] Whether in narrow range or multitudinous variety, the colours move across the surface of his paintings in constantly shifting interplay, lending an extraordinary fascination to common subject Familiar sights – the pervading greenness of a landscape, the intensification of color in objects on a lightly overcast day – are given vivid life' (J. Elliott, in Bonnard and His Environment (exhibition catalogue), Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1964, p. 25).
Fig. 1, Villa Antoinette in Grasse. Photograph by Josse Bernheim-Jeune