Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Art Review - "The White Cat", Pierre Bonnard & Portrait of a Man", Antoine Vollon - Musée d'Orsay, Paris France

Today for #MuseumTourTuesday, it's cats vs. dogs, impressionism vs. realism, Pierre Bonnard vs. Antoine Vollon. I'm a fan of both of these paintings at the Musée d'Orsay, but for very different reasons.

"The White Cat" • Pierre Bonnard • 1894 • Oil on Card • 51x33cm
Bonnard's cat is very playful and childlike with extreme exaggerations, and yet it gives me a sense of a certain cat I once knew, and so I can connect with it. Traditional painting methods have been discarded in favor of whimsy, pattern and design.
 
Detail: "Portrait of a Man" • Antoine Vollon • 1878 • Oil on Canvas • 186x125.5cm

By contast, Vollon's dog is very realistic, despite the fact that it is loosely painted. There is no doubt that the artist was responding to exactly what he saw before him.

Detail "The White Cat" • Pierre Bonnard • 1894 • Oil on Card • 51x33cm

Bonnard's paint application is uneven and primitive, almost certainly by design to give more personality to the cat.

Detail: "Portrait of a Man" • Antoine Vollon • 1878 • Oil on Canvas • 186x125.5cm
Vollard's paint application is much more academic. Thick in the lights, thinner in the darks. Notice that we barely see the eyes in either of the paintings.

Detail "The White Cat" • Pierre Bonnard • 1894 • Oil on Card • 51x33cm


The cat almost appears to float dreamlike through the landscape, adding to the sense that this is beyond reality.

Detail: "Portrait of a Man" • Antoine Vollon • 1878 • Oil on Canvas • 186x125.5cm
The dog's feet are grounded and solid by comparison. He exists in the real world.

Both paintings evoke emotions for me in regards to how I feel about the subjects. While I tend to paint in a more realist manner, I can appreciate the abandon with which Bonnard discards convention and creates something new and unexpected. I'm always looking for opportunities to channel that into my own work.
 


"Portrait of a Man" • Antoine Vollon • 1878 • Oil on Canvas • 186x125.5cm
Here is the complete painting by Vollon. I'm drawn to the dog much more than the figure, which appears stiff by comparison. 

Painting photos by Saunders Fine Arts.

© Patrick and Kimberly Saunders, Patrick Saunders Fine Arts, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s authors/owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Patrick Saunders for painted works, or to Kimberly Saunders for photographs and/or videos, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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