Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist, Modern & Surrealist Art Evening Sale


Pierre Bonnard
1867 - 1947
stamped Bonnard (lower left)
oil on board
50.5 by 66cm.
19 7/8 by 26in.
Painted in 1905.
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Estate of the artist

Acquired from the above by the family of the present owners in the 1950s


London, Royal Academy of Arts, Pierre Bonnard, 1966, no. 107 (titled Avenue du Bois de Boulogne and as dating from circa 1912-14)

Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria; Adelaide, The Art Gallery of South Australia; Perth, The Art Gallery of Western Australia & Sydney, Australia Museum, Pierre Bonnard, 1971, no. 9, illustrated in colour in the catalogue (titled Avenue du Bois de Boulogne and as dating from circa 1912-14)

Johannesburg, Johannesburgse Kunsmuseum, Pierre Bonnard, 1971-72, no. 9 (titled Avenue du Bois de Boulogne and as dating from circa 1912-14)

Brussels, Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Bonnard - Vuillard - Rousell, 1975, no. 7 (titled Avenue de Bois de Boulogne)


Annette Vaillant, Bonnard, 1965, illustrated p. 73

Jean & Henry Dauberville, Bonnard, catalogue raisonné de l’œuvre peint, Paris, 1968, vol. I, no. 313, illustrated p. 286


Painted in 1905, Avenue du Bois depicts a grand boulevard at the end of which the majestic Arc de Triomphe leads into the heart of Paris. Bonnard took joy in observing  the crowded streets in this part of the metropolis and the interplay between the busy life of the city and the beautiful small parks that lined its streets. The present composition is divided between these two features of the Avenue de Bois de Boulogne, which was renamed Avenue Foch in 1929 (fig. 1). The artist has depicted numerous figures and animals, some walking, others on bicycles or horses, all captured with a remarkable sense of movement, reflecting Bonnard's fascination with the energy and dynamic life of the metropolis. Avenue de Bois displays a radically modern approach to the composition, shifting the focus away from its centre to the two different aspects of the work. This seemingly nonchalant positioning of the perspective suggests a chance momentary glimpse, rather than a carefully staged ensemble.

Bonnard shared his fascination with the city with Impressionist and post-Impressionist artists, including Caillebotte, Monet and Pissarro, all of whom executed a number of works depicting Parisian boulevards, squares and bridges, usually characterised by a sense of the rich and varied life of the city. Gustave Geffroy commented: 'no-one is quicker than Bonnard to seize the look of our Parisian streets, the silhouettes of a passer-by and the patch of colour which stands out in the Metropolitan mist. [He] seizes on all the momentary phenomena of the street, even the most fugitive glances are caught and set down' (G. Geffroy, quoted in Pierre Bonnard (exhibition catalogue), Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1996, p. 16).


Impressionist, Modern & Surrealist Art Evening Sale