The Kimbell Art Museum has announced the acquisition of a new painting for its collection, and to call it eye-catching would probably be an understatement.
“Landscape at Le Cannet,” a 1928 work by Pierre Bonnard, is a 9-foot-wide, mural-like painting with the vivid colors that Bonnard was known for, especially during this period. It is the Kimbell’s first work by Bonnard, whose art career spanned the 1890s till around his death in 1947, according to a biography entry at Brittanica.com.
“Landscape at Le Cannet,” which will go on exhibit Friday in the Kimbell’s Louis I. Kahn Building, “depicts the colorful, sun-washed landscape surrounding the artist’s villa near Cannes, in the south of France. ,” according to a news release. “Suffused with the brilliant colors of the Cote d’Azur, the large canvas, around nine feet in width, is the latest in a distinguished group of landscape paintings in the museum’s collection.”
Eric M. Lee, director of the Kimbell, says in the release.: “In Landscape at Le Cannet, Bonnard portrays the landscape around his villa as an Earthly paradise, with human beings in harmony with nature. The painting, with its intense Mediterranean light and color, will look spectacular in the Texas light of the Kimbell.”
According to the Brittanica.com entry, Bonnard went through several phases in his career, a statement underscored by the Kimbell in its release: “[His] beginnings were influenced by the sinuous lines and hues of Paul Gauguin, and his late works inspired Mark Rothko, the ultimate colorist of the abstract age.”
Bonnard is known for his scenes of daily life, centering on his own extended family; for his complex depictions of interiors, often inhabited by his wife, Marthe (who was his companion long before she became his wife; they have quite an unusual love story); for his depictions of Marthe in her bath; and, finally, for his landscapes, which depict with equal joy his garden at Vernon in Normandy and his house and its surroundings at Le Cannet.
According the Kimbell’s release, “Landscape at Le Cannet” is his most ambitious depiction of Le Cannet. What you see on a computer screen can’t really do it justice, unless you happen to have a 9-foot-wide computer screen. But here’s a description from the release:
Taking a position on the hill above his home, which he had christened “Le Bosquet” for the grove of trees that surrounded it, Bonnard looked to the west, toward the Esterel mountains. The roof of Le Bosquet, near the tree at center of the composition, gives a sense of Bonnard’s personal scale in the context of the panorama; the two hillocks in the foreground fall towards the pathway that borders the rear of Bonnard’s property, where a girl and her dog can be seen passing by. Bonnard places himself in the right foreground, beside a pair of goats; a cow stands among spiky plants at the other side of the canvas. The whole composition is suffused with warm light and with a rainbow-like array of colors, from reds and oranges through the dominant yellow hue to shades of green, blue and violet.
You can see it for yourself beginning Friday at the Kimbell, where admission to the permanent collection is always free. The Kimbell is at 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd. in Fort Worth. www.kimbellart.org or the Kimbell’s social media lon Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.