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Pierre Bonnard. Basket of Fruit. 1924. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Anthony W. Deering, Baltimore. BMA 2005.141
Pierre Bonnard. Basket of Fruit. 1924. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Anthony W. Deering, Baltimore. BMA 2005.141

BALTIMORE, MD (March 18, 2008)—The Baltimore Museum of Art presents a luminous two-gallery exhibition of works by Pierre Bonnard and Édouard Vuillard—two modern masters whose experimental work inspired artists from Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec to Henri Matisse. On view April 23 through October 19, 2008, Bonnard & Vuillard features more than 30 works that explore the profound impact both Pierre Bonnard (1867–1947) and Édouard Vuillard (1868–1940) had on each other as they evolved from a late 19th-century interest in everyday life to a colorful exploration of domestic life in interior scenes into the 1930s.

The exhibition presents four paintings, three drawings, and over 30 lithographs, etchings, posters, and illustrated books drawn from the BMA’s outstanding collection that showcase the change in style for both artists as they progressed through their artistic careers. Highlights include a series of six printer’s proofs for The Pastry Shop by Vuillard that demonstrate the multi-step printing process for these highly complicated and innovative color prints, Bonnard’s revolutionary poster from 1894 for the literary journal La Revue blanche, and his Woman with Basket of Fruit, which features dramatic compositional elements that are reminiscent of Japanese wood-block prints.

Bonnard and Vuillard met in art school in the 1880s and became lifelong friends. Like many artists in Paris at the turn of the century, they moved beyond Impressionism to embrace a more complex style of visual communication.  In 1889, Bonnard and Vuillard became important members of the Nabis, a group of young artists inspired by the work of Paul Gauguin and Japanese prints who experimented with flat, patterned surfaces, arbitrary color, and expressive line in their paintings and works on paper. Bonnard was the member most fascinated with Japanese art, and worked easily in a variety of mediums, particularly color lithographs, posters, theater programs, and book illustrations where his striking simplifications of form and his bold use of bright colors were at their best. Vuillard was involved with various theater projects as a young artist, designing costumes, scenery, and programs for many performances.

Bonnard & Vuillard is curated by BMA Curator of European Painting & Sculpture Katy Rothkopf.

About the Baltimore Museum of Art

Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 97,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.

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