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Pierre Bonnard - Painting

Pierre Bonnard - Painting Arcadia


A leading post-impressionist painter

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Why you will love it?

World-renowned for its famous Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collections, the Musée d’Orsay is also host to the world’s largest collection of Pierre Bonnard’s works, a leading Post-Impressionist painter. The new exhibition “Pierre Bonnard, Painting Arcadia” is a rare look at each of this multi-talented artist’s creative periods. Learn more about Bonnard’s contributions to the Post-Impressionist movement through nearly 100 paintings and personal photographs and film. Enjoy! Parisianist

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About this place

Musée d'Orsay, 1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007 Paris
Line 12 - Assemblée Nationale / Solférino
Line C - Orsay

Monday : Closed
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Monday : Closed Tuesday : 9:30 am - 18:00 pm Wednesday : 9:30 am - 18:00 pm Thursday : 9:30 am - 21:45 pm Friday : 9:30 am - 18:00 pm Saturday : 9:30 am - 18:00 pm Sunday : 9:30 am - 18:00 pm
1 May

Our Insiders' Article


Pierre Bonnard was an artist born from the Impressionist movement without having ever actually been part of it. Originally influenced by Paul Gauguin, he is known for his use of bright colors and fragmented strokes that evoke themes like solitude, tenderness, and eroticism. “Pierre Bonnard, Painting Arcadia” shows how Bonnard progressed from his Gaugin-influenced works to the development of his own unique style. The exhibition also provides an introduction to Bonnard’s principal subjects, such as interiors, female models and intimacy, wild gardens, and decorative arts. It is therefore great for both avid Bonnard fans and amateurs interested in Post-Impressionist art. 


The first two rooms of the exhibition show the bridge between Bonnard’s Impressionist and Japanese print-inspired paintings, and the discovery of his own style: quirky, intimate, and humorous. The eye-catchers in the first room are certainly the gorgeous vertical paintings of greenery reminiscent of Japanese-style kakemono. To the right you will get a sense of Bonnard’s light-hearted sense of humor with a few of his numerous odd paintings of animals. The second room is an introduction to his classic early pieces. 

Personal Touch

One of the most unique aspects of this exhibition is the glimpse it gives you into Bonnard’s personal life. As the exhibition aims to show Bonnard’s progression as an artist, the curators have decided to include a large number of photographs taken by Bonnard that document his travels, romances, and influences. The collection includes photographs of his wife Marthe, as well as of his friends and travel companions Edouard Vuillard and the Bibesco brothers. Worthy of mention is also the sole film projection in the exhibition, footage of Bonnard and his various influential travels.

Classic Bonnard

Of greatest interest to fans of Post-Impressionist art would be the main body of this exhibition. Through themes often dealt with by Post-Impressionist painters such as interiors, bathrooms and intimacy, portraits, still lifes, gardens, and the outdoors, you will have the opportunity to familiarize yourself with Bonnard’s particular take. You will notice that many of his paintings are created by blending together an unusual assortment of colors, and that he chooses very odd perspectives and framings.


The last room of the exhibition has a completely different feel from the other rooms, and is the namesake of the exhibition. Displayed here are the largest paintings, decorative pieces commissioned by clients looking to jazz up their dining rooms or salons. The subjects chosen are representative of the Arcadian movement, depicting ideal modern and antique landscapes or Classical scenes.


This exhibition is truly a collection of quintessentially Post-Impressionist pieces, so it is sure to please anyone interested in Bonnard or this era of art. Those who are unfamiliar will surely be charmed regardless by the unique, dream-like quality of Bonnard’s paintings, although the photographs and film could probably be skipped over. This exhibition also allows you a glimpse into other movements like Symbolism and Surrealism that Bonnard explored. “Pierre Bonnard, Painting Arcadia” lays out a very nice timeline of how he acted as a segue between Impressionism to Post-Impressionism and beyond, and is therefore recommended for anyone interested in the time period around these artistic movements.

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