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Bonnard Pierre / ピエール・ボナール

White Cat (1894)


Bonnard Pierre (1867-1947)
The White Cat 

Pierre Bonnard
White Cat (1894)
Card, oil painting 51x33cm
Paris, Musée d'Orsay

Painting size: 51x33cm
Work code: BonWhi

Bonnard uses distortion to create a humorous depiction of a white cat arching its back. This mysterious animal, with its legs spread out and strongly curled up, its neck tucked in, and an indescribable expression, looks both tame and wild.

Bonnard's studies reveal that the artist spent a lot of time determining the cat's figure and the position of its paws. X-rays of this work also show that there have been many changes, some of which are visible. "Art is not natural," Bonnard said. Bonnard's white cat resembles a French caricature, and has been described by Elisabeth Foucart-Walter as ``a comical and humorous painting by a genius among masters who excelled in observation and understanding.'' .

The decorative style of this painting, with its pronounced meandering lines and flat subject matter without depth in the background, can be said to be typical of the Nabi school from 1894 onwards. The inspiration from Japanese paintings is also evident in the asymmetrical composition and choice of subject matter. Bonnard was also a fan of Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) and Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), and seems to have been particularly influenced by the familiar cats depicted in ukiyo-e by Hokusai and Kuniyoshi.

Like this piece, Bonnard created countless works featuring cats. Cats were sometimes depicted as simple details, sometimes large, sometimes small, and sometimes, like this "White Cat," they were depicted as the center of the subject.

White Cat (1894)