The Pont de Grenelle and the Eiffel Tower (Primary Title)

Pierre Bonnard, French, 1867 - 1947 (Artist)

ca. 1912
oil on canvas
Unframed: 21 1/2 × 27 in. (54.61 × 68.58 cm)
Framed: 25 × 30 13/16 in. (63.5 × 78.26 cm)
This resplendent view of Paris is a superb example of Bonnard's aptitude for using paint to express his subjective impressions before a landscape—or, in this case, a cityscape. The view was captured from Quai d'Auteuil in the city’s 16th arrondissement. The Grenelle railway spans the Seine, serving as the composition's horizon line. Over the bridge's center looms a quarter-scale replica of Liberty Enlightening the World (1889) by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (1834-1904). The original 1886 work was presented to the American nation by the French republic and is better known as the Statue of Liberty. The Eiffel Tower stands nonchalantly in the center of the scene, under the softly clouded expanse of a summery blue sky, its tip obscured by the jutting branches of one of the pair of trees in the foreground that frames the distant monument. The bold chromatic contrasts aid in distracting the viewer's eye from the pedestrians who enter from the edges of the scene and the car that is already passing beyond the composition's frame. There is an optimism that permeates the subject and style of the work, one that echoes the exuberant innovations of Bonnard's Fauve contemporaries.
signed Bonnard in lower left quardrant
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon
2019-2020: "Van Gogh Monet Degas, The Mellon Collection of French Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts", Palazzo Zabarella, Padua, Italy, October 26, 2019 - March 1, 2020

2019-2021: Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, and Their Times: The Mellon Collection of French Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Frist Art Museum, Nashville, TN, February 2 - May 5, 2019; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS, April 4, 2020 - January 10, 2021

2018: "Van Gogh, Monet, Degas: The Mellon Collection of French Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts", The Frick Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, March 17 - July 15, 2018; Oklahoma Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, June 22 - September 22, 2019

1966: “French Paintings from the Collections of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon and Mrs. Mellon Bruce,” National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., March 17-May 1, 1966.

1948: "Pierre Bonnard", The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, 1948.
©artist or artist’s estate

Curator’s Talk: The Reinstallation of the Mellon Collection

The collection of European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts given by Paul and Rachel Mellon constitute an essential facet of the museum’s identity. Dr. Sylvain Cordier, Paul Mellon Curator and Head of the Department of European Art, discusses the reinstallation of the Mellon Collection.

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