NGV announces Pierre Bonnard exhibition for Melbourne Winter Masterpieces

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NGV announces Pierre Bonnard exhibition for Melbourne Winter Masterpieces

NGV Pierre Bonnard

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in partnership with the Musée d’Orsay presents the major world-premiere exhibition Pierre Bonnard: Designed by India Mahdavi.

Opening in June 2023, the blockbuster Melbourne Winter Masterpieces® exhibition will feature more than 100 works by Pierre Bonnard – a leading 20th century French painter celebrated for his iridescent palette – presented within a contemporary scenography by award-winning architect and designer, India Mahdavi.

The paintings of Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) depict intimate domestic interiors, natural landscapes and urban scenes with subtlety, wit and a sensuous approach to colour and light. Renowned for his use of colour to convey emotions, Bonnard was declared by his close friend Henri Matisse as “a great painter, for today and definitely also for the future.”

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Curated by Paris’s Musée d’Orsay in partnership with the NGV, the exhibition brings late 19th and early 20th century France to life through paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and decorative objects by Pierre Bonnard, shown alongside early cinema by the Lumiere brothers, and artworks by Maurice Denis, Félix Vallotton and Édouard Vuillard, Bonnard’s early contemporaries.

To create the exhibition’s scenography, the NGV has commissioned the celebrated Paris-based architect and designer India Mahdavi. Described by The New Yorker as a ‘virtuoso of colour’ and ‘possessor of perfect chromatic pitch’, and winner of Designer of the Year at the 2023 Wallpaper* Design Awards, Mahdavi will envelop Pierre Bonnard’s works in an environment that complements Bonnard’s distinct use of colour and texture and evokes the wistful domestic intimacy for which his paintings are renowned.

A design icon, Mahdavi has appeared multiple times on the Architectural Digest list of the 100 most influential architects and designers. Her approach to colour, structure and texture has resulted in several acclaimed architectural projects, including collaborations with contemporary British artist David Shrigley and British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare for The Gallery at sketch in London. Mahdavi’s interest in the domestic interior has also resulted in ranges of furniture and design objects for the home.

The exhibition features loans from the Musée d’Orsay, which holds the world’s largest collection of Bonnard’s work, along with significant loans from other museums and private collections in France as well as elsewhere in Europe, the UK, the USA and Australia. International lenders include Tate, London; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Minneapolis Institute of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Art Institute of Chicago.

These loans will be presented alongside important works from the NGV’s own collection, including Bonnard’s early masterpiece, La Sieste (Siesta), 1900, previously in the collection of Gertrude Stein and acquired by the NGV in 1949. The exhibition also features a work recently acquired by Krystyna Campbell-Pretty AM and Family for the NGV: an intimate domestic scene by Bonnard’s friend and contemporary in the Nabi circle, Édouard Vuillard. The exhibition will also feature and contextualise Vuillard’s painting of Bonnard’s wife,Marthe Bonnard with a dog, 1907, acquired by the NGV in 1955.

Tickets and information are available via the NGV website: NGV.MELBOURNE .