October 3, 2017
Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), The Marriage Proposal, c.1930, lithograph, 11 x 8 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Wulf Barsch, 1992.
Today marks the birthday of French artist Pierre Bonnard. Born in 1867, Bonnard was an influential member of Les Nabis—a group of avant-garde, post-impressionist artists who celebrated the decorative function of painting.
Though best known for colorful interior scenes filled with pattern, ornament, and emotive possibility, Bonnard created numerous illustrations and prints throughout his career. In The Marriage Proposal, an older man seems to address a younger woman seated on the bench. The image presents a compelling yet enigmatic scene; the subject is unknown, and their clothing does not reflect contemporary Parisian fashion. Bonnard may have created this print as an illustration for a publication, which he increasingly produced in his later years.