Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) is one of my favorite artists. Copying famous artists and their masterpieces can be such a learning experience…for example…
Copying the paintings in the Louvre has been a common thing among artists and students since the museum opened in 1793. A tradition that still stands, although the reservations to paint are on a one year waiting list (at least before Covid). Famous artists such as Degas, Chagall, Cezanne and Picasso all spent time in the Louvre copying the works of masters in order to improve their art.
One of my favorite paintings, “Gallery of the Louvre” by Samuel F. B. Morse is the epitome of this tradition. A large 6’x9′ painting portrays 38 copies of famous paintings, but also includes artists copying these paintings. Morse himself is depicted looking over his daughter Susan’s shoulder as she paints. Also we see Morse’s great friend, the writer James Fennimore Cooper, standing in the corner gesturing to his daughter as she paints. (A great book to read which goes into great detail about this painting is David McCullough “The Greater Journey Americans In Paris”. I am reading this for the 3rd time!)
Now on to Pierre Bonnard!
I first saw paintings by Pierre Bonnard in a magazine article about the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibit, “Pierre Bonnard The Late Still Life and Interiors”, in 2009. I fell for his vibrant colors, his depictions of everyday rooms and objects. He loved using bold pattern and bright colors. One of my favorite Bonnard paintings is “Corner of the Dining Room at Le Cannet” 1932 oil on canvas.
Here’s my attempt at copying…I learned so much with this painting.
Speaking of James Fennimore Cooper…if you haven’t seen Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day-Lewis…do it now! It is 30 years old and still holds up! We watch it every year…Of course it is supposed to take place in Upstate New York, but anyone who has hiked in the North Carolina mountains will recognize the water falls, rhododendrons, and Chimney Rock rock faces!
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Come celebrate with me. I’ll save you a seat at the easel!