The exhibition is an intimate invitation into a quaint, quiet life in the French countryside as seen through Bonnard’s eyes. Working from his memory, he would recreate a scene using various drawings, photographs and sketches as visual aids. What transpires are paintings from Bonnard’s particular view point, invested with the elements which caught and held his attention; the light entering a room, a reflection in a mirror, or the brightness of yellow mimosa (The Studio with Mimosa). There are beautiful, inconspicuous details of shimmering water, reflections of light, aspects in shadow – a product of the paintings developed over time not only on the canvas, but in Bonnard’s mind.
Bonnard had a unique ability to paint perspective so that the viewer is engulfed in a landscape of colour and detail. Rather than merely looking at a painted canvas, it is possible to feel enveloped by a depicted scene. Bonnard was known to paint on an unstretched canvas and to allow the borders of his paintings to form themselves.
Overwhelming colour is key to the journey the Tate’s curation provides, caressing the senses and whispering of a well-kept secret, finally revealed. It is a peek into the intimate relationship Bonnard had with his home and the nature surrounding it.
Our advice to any art lover would be to see this exhibition, experience this garden of visions with paintings that sing with bright emotion and capture the imagination.
See the exhibition at the Tate Modern – on until the 6 May 2019.