Pierre Bonnard (1867 - 1947), Paris, 1897
oil on paper on panel,
69.9 cm x 95.0 cm
Credits: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (purchased with support from the VriendenLoterij, the Rembrandt Association and the VSBfonds)
When he painted this townscape, Bonnard took on a double challenge: the light was failing and it was raining. He was looking out of the window of his Montmartre studio at a view he depicted in a number of works.
His decision to place an expanse of blank wall at the centre of the composition is daring. It gives the least picturesque part of the painting the most emphasis. But there is more to it: look at the perspective. Bonnard has used the difference in distance to the middle roofs and the street in an illogical way. He borrowed ideas for this kind of division of the picture plane and irregular perspective from Japanese prints.