Pierre Bonnard
(Fontenay-aux-Roses, Seine, 1867-1947, Le Cannet)
Place de la Concorde, ca. 1910
Oil on cardboard, 47.5 x 63 cm
Signed lower right: Bonnard
Dauberville 636
Despite all that separates the young Bonnard from Impressionism, and the theoretical underpinning given by Paul Sérusier, Emile Bernard and Maurice Denis to their generation, Bonnard’s debt to Impressionism in later years and his devotion to it must not be overlooked. In addition to shared ideas with Monet and Renoir, Bonnard also exchanged pictures with them. The closest affinities to the older painters can be seen in Bonnard's landscapes. In these landscapes, as in his seascapes and river scenes, boulevards and bridges, Bonnard favours the frontal elevation view with planes parallel to the paint surface. This is true as well of this view of the Seine in Paris with the Place de la Concorde in the background. It is built up, with significantly unlimited sides, of layers of water, an the quay. Rows of trees, buildings, the Obelisk and the sky above them form layers which are aligned more vertically one over the other than one behind the other. Within this composition the paint is applied in loose flakes impressionistically, a method that is similar to that of the Neo-Impressionists Seurat and Signac in that the ground of the painting is allowed to exert its effect. Also Impressionistic is the bright atmospheric colour ranging from greyish-white to pale blue, which give the painting a weightless hovering quality. The catalogue raisonné lists this picture under No. 635 in its original version, with two narrow side-pieces with nudes on them, both later detached from the picture.