"Pierre Bonnard, the guest of Les Collettes".
Exhibition at the Renoir Museum
until September 30

Many visitors came to Les Collettes when Renoir was there. But not all are accepted. The painter Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) is also warmly welcomed!

To recall these visits, which were more silent than talkative if we are to believe the witnesses, and which both enjoyed, the Musée Renoir is presenting an exhibition of works, books and documents from its collections and those of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nice and the Musée Bonnard in Le Cannet, which have generously agreed to lend some of their treasures, in the large studio for the duration of the summer.

Admiration and encouragement were the foundations of this artistic friendship, which began in Paris at the end of the 19th century and continued on the Côte d’Azur, where both were seduced by its light and landscapes.

Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), a guest at Les Collettes

Exhibition until September 30
Musée Renoir

Pierre Bonnard, Fenêtre ouverte sur la Seine à Vernonnet, oil on canvas, c. 1912, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nice, inv. Mba 6051 – Elisabeth Verrat
An exceptional loan: “Fenêtre ouverte sur la Seine à Vernonnet” (Open window on the Seine at Vernonnet)

Pierre Bonnard, who lived in the capital, liked to escape to Normandy.
In 1912, he acquired a house in the Seine valley at Vernonnet, which he named “ma roulotte” (“my caravan”). Situated high up, it allows him to appreciate a vast panorama, stretching all the way to the horizon.

Painting from the 1st floor of his house, he is particularly interested in windows. Open, it guides the viewer’s gaze towards the landscape and vegetation, whose cool hues contrast with the warm tones of the house’s interior.

At the periphery of the work, Bonnard introduces a female figure, reinforcing the viewer’s impression of entering the room.

Portrait of Renoir by Bonnard

From the 1890s onwards, Bonnard attached great importance to drawing and engraving, in particular by creating numerous illustrations for the Revue Blanche. For Bonnard, drawing takes on a sensitive, emotional dimension, as he puts it: “Drawing is sensation; color is reasoning”. As here, in this portrait of Renoir based on a photograph taken in 1916 at Les Collettes, he eliminates detail in favor of expressive efficiency, to get as close as possible to intimacy. For his technique, he uses etching, which is an engraving process on metal plates using a chemical reaction.

Pierre Bonnard, Portrait of Renoir,
reproductions of an etching from 1916, Musée Renoir, inv. n0. 56.7.1
Bonnard, illustrator

In 1896, Bonnard began illustrating Marie, a novel written by Peter Nansen and published in the Revue Blanche in 1898. A sentimental novel, it tells the story of a young woman named Marie and her lover. On discovering Bonnard’s illustrations, Pierre-Auguste Renoir wrote to him: “I find your drawings in the Revue Blanche to be most exquisite. It’s up to you to keep this art.

Peter Nansen and Pierre Bonnard , Marie, 4444
Southern France

Bonnard discovered the Côte d’Azur in 1909. He returned again and again from 1917 to 1922, and bought a house in Le Cannet in 1926. Bonnard often came to Les Collettes to visit Renoir. He also visited Ferdinand Deconchy (1859-1946), a friend of Renoir’s, at his Cagnoise estate called “La Bégude”. It may well have been from this house, or from Les Collettes, that he took this view, which entered the collections in 1983 under the title Cagnes. However, there is still some doubt as to the identity of the village and its castle. Wouldn’t that be a view of Le Cannet? His move to Le Cannet prompted the same stylistic renewal as Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s move to Cagnes-Sur-Mer 14 years earlier. Their garden becomes a source of inspiration thanks to the lush vegetation and light.

Pierre Bonnard, Cagnes depuis les Collettes (?), undated drawing, Musée Renoir, inv. 83.3

Around the exhibition

Guided tours

Discover the Domaine des Collettes, the house and its collections, and the temporary exhibition Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), the guest of Les Collettes.

June to September: Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 2pm and 4pm
Tours in English are offered on Sundays at 2pm all year round.
Price of guided tour: €3 (+ €6 for museum admission).

Workshops for young audiences

Pop-up workshop – Through the window of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s studio – From age 5

The cultural mediator will invite children to come and create a Pop’up drawing of the window in the studio of the painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, in the colors used in Pierre Bonnard’s work; Fenêtre ouverture sur la Seine à Vernonnet by Pierre Bonnard.

Sensory workshopIn the matter and colors of Pierre Bonnard’s work: Open window on the Seine in Vernonnet – From 3 years old

The cultural mediator will take children on a sensory voyage of discovery through touch and smell, in connection with the colors and elements of Pierre Bonnard’s painting. This workshop is an invitation to artistic awakening for the very young.

July: Mondays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
September: Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Duration: 1h30 – Reservations required: ateliers.musees@cagnes.fr – Price: 5€ – Groups of 10 children subject to availability.