Pierre Bonnard - Le jupon écossais (Le modèle au grand chapeau)
Le jupon écossais (Le modèle au grand chapeau)
Oil on canvas 58.5 x 64.5 cm Framed. Signed 'Bonnard' in brown lower right. - In fine condition.
“It was often said that Bonnard was the most painterly painter of his generation […]. After all, he seemed to playfully overcome every difficulty, and he always found a way to be taken seriously, even though he cultivated the funniest and most fanciful art in the world”, wrote Gustave Coquiot of Pierre Bonnard in 1914 (cited in: Irina Fortunescu, Bonnard, Bucharest 1980, p. 10). Other contemporaries also prized the artist's humour and nonconformism.
These characteristics become plainly apparent in his interior scenes from the early 1900s. The artist captured situations in private spaces where the female protagonists hardly seem to be aware of any outside observer. These fully absorbed female figures, who are often only carelessly dressed, are depicted in a relaxed and casual state; the pieces of clothing heedlessly cast aside illustrate the informal intimacy of the situation. Bonnard uses unconventional pictorial devices to achieve the effect of a moment that is seemingly captured spontaneously and without further intention.
Our work also testifies to the pleasure Bonnard took in playing with conventions of representation. The woman is only half dressed and has withdrawn into her private rooms to read; however, she has nonetheless failed to decide to remove the elegant creation of her hat, and her wandering gaze is directed neither at her book nor the viewer. The pieces of clothing carelessly laid on the chair claim a standing within the picture that is nearly equal to her own. The skirt with a Scottish tartan pattern, which has provided the picture with its title, stands out as the most chromatically remarkable element; it takes up the white, green and black of the other materials and supplements them with red accents. The subdued tonality of the interior renders the highlighting of these colouristic details all the more pointed, and a lively atmosphere of particular immediacy emerges.
Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, acquired directly from the artist in 1907; Christie's London, Impressionist and Modern Paintings and Sculpture, 3 April 1989, Lot 17; Private collection, Switzerland
Bulletin de la Vie artistique, vol. I, no. 16, 15 July 1970, p. 464 (with illus.)
Antwerp 1920, Salon Triennal d'Anvers; London 1954 (Galerie Wildenstein & Co.), Paris in the Nineties, no. 7; Paris 1961 (Musée Jacquemart-André), Collections particulières, no. 107; Paris 1966 (Galerie Maeght), La Revue Blanche