Pierre BONNARD (Fontenay-aux-Roses 1867 - Le Cannet 1947)

View of the Town and Bay of Saint-Tropez

Pencil, on a page from a small sketchbook.
Inscribed 2 chemises de couleur / 2 pairs chausettes fil / 5 mouchoirs on the verso.
Stamped with the Bonnard studio stamp (Lugt 3887) and the Antoine Terrasse vente stamp (not in Lugt) at the lower right.
105 x 157 mm. (4 1/8 x 6 1/8 in.)


In 1904 Pierre Bonnard made his first visit to the South of France. Together with Edouard Vuillard, he visited their fellow Nabis artist Ker-Xavier Roussel in Saint-Tropez, and also met Louis Valtat and Paul Signac. Captivated by the light and landscape of the Midi, which was different from anything he had painted before, Bonnard returned to Saint-Tropez for a longer stay in the summer of 1909 as the guest of Henri Manguin. From then on he was to spend a large part of his career in the South of France, painting yearly on the Côte d’Azur; in Saint-Tropez, Antibes, Grasse and at Le Cannet, in the hills above Cannes, where he purchased a villa in 1925.

This drawing comes from a sketchbook used by Bonnard in 1921, which included other drawings of Saint-Tropez and the French coastline, as well as several views of Rome (some of which relate to a large painting of the Piazza del Popolo, Rome, painted in 1922 and today in a private collection). The artist spent the period between December 1920 and March 1921 staying with Manguin at Saint-Tropez, before spending a fortnight in Rome at the end of March.

As Bonnard told a visitor to his studio in 1937, ‘I do these sketches outdoors as soon as I find a light effect, landscape, or atmosphere that moves me...It’s a matter of noting down whatever strikes you as quickly as possible. Then afterward you take a single color as a point of departure and compose an entire painting around it. Color has a logic as exact as that of form. One must not give up before capturing the first impression.’

By descent from the artist to his nephew, Charles Terrasse, Paris
Thence by descent to his son, Antoine Terrasse, Fontainebleau
Thence by descent until 2015.


View of the Town and Bay of Saint-Tropez


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