A vividly illustrated, fascinating exploration of two artists’ creative dialogue with gardens and nature.
“…as for vision, I see things differently every day, the sky, objects, everything changes continually, you can drown in it. But that’s what brings life.”—Pierre Bonnard
Painters Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) and Jennifer Bartlett (b. 1941) were both avid gardeners, and gardens—especially the ones they created for themselves—had a lifelong influence on both their work. Jennifer Bartlett & Pierre Bonnard: In and Out of the Garden presents the ways in which these two artists, the French post-impressionist Bonnard and the contemporary American artist Bartlett, have visually interpreted gardens and nature during their careers.
Garden views from both inside the house and the outside are a defining subject for both painters. The profusion of colours and textures in Bonnard’s work has a parallel in Bartlett’s reinvention of figurative paintings made in the 1970s. This volume showcases over fifty paintings, drawings, and prints by both Bonnard and Bartlett, accompanied by illuminating text from Klaus Ottmann.
In and Out of the Garden explores gardens as a recurrent theme throughout Bonnard’s oeuvre, from the early days at Le Clos—the Bonnard summer home in the Dauphiné—and his first garden at Vernonnet, west of Paris, to his final home, Le Bosquet (which translated, means The Grove), on the Cote d’Azur. Among his works featured in the book are oil paintings depicting dreamlike gardens, an Eden-like landscape and reclining figures in “Earthly Paradise,” and his renowned The Open Window, which draws our eye to the trees beyond, framed by the window.
This volume juxtaposes Bonnard’s works with pieces by Jennifer Bartlett, who emerged in the mid-1970s to become one of the leading American artists of her time, and one of the first female painters of her generation to be both commercially successful and critically acclaimed. In 1979, Bartlett spent a winter in a rented home in Nice where a small, run-down garden became the inspiration for her In the Garden series, consisting of 200 drawings. In and Out of the Garden features selections from this seminal work as well as pastels and oil paintings of Bartlett’s New York City gardens and her Amagansett garden.
With its authoritative text and superb examples of works by the post-Impressionist and the contemporary artist, Bonnard & Bartlett: In and Out of the Garden presents an unexpected yet inspired pairing of two painters “for whom gardens not only evoke joy and domestic felicity but also possess a darker sensibility,” as the Foreword to the book explains.
There will be an accompanying exhibition at the Phillips Collection June 27 – September 20, 2020.
About the Author
Klaus Ottmann is the chief curator and deputy director for Academic Affairs at The Phillips Collection. Dr. Ottmann has curated more than 60 exhibitions in Europe and the United States, and has written extensively for numerous museum publications.
Table of Contents
- In and Out of the Garden by Klaus Ottmann
- Works in the Exhibition
- Photo Credits