Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) was an artist who worked in France from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. While a member of the Nabis, a group of artists active in fin de siècle Paris, he was influenced by ukiyo-e to create lively and decorative works that earned him the nickname “The very japonard Nabi .”

Later he left Paris and encountered the natural landscapes of Normandy and the south of France. There, through his interactions with Impressionist painters, he came to devote himself to exploring coloristic effects. In a period that was giving birth to Cubism, Surrealism, and other new painting styles, Bonnard threw himself into “adventures of the optic nerve,” to turn the striking impressions of what he saw into paintings. His are the unexpected compositions and complexly reverberating colors: the more closely one looks at his work, the more the seemingly quotidian scenes he painted astonish with the subtle devices employed within them. Interest in the Nabis and appreciation of their art have been growing in France in the last few years. Proof of this is the Pierre Bonnard exhibition that was held at the Musée d’Orsay in 2015, which fascinated as many as 510,000 visitors, the largest attendance number to one of their shows, second only to their Van Gogh exhibition held in 2014.

This large-scale Bonnard retrospective exhibition is composed of works from collections in Japan and abroad, most notably the extensive Bonnard collection of the Musée d’Orsay. Through works from many genres―paintings, sketches, prints, and photographs―the show explores the charm of the enigmatic Pierre Bonnard.