There’s no accounting for the heart and its vagaries. I feel sometimes almost as though I should apologize for loving Bonnard. I’m not sure why I feel this way since he is truly a great artist. But so many of his paintings seem naïve, or overly simple, or mussy. Perhaps I’m afraid to emulate his ways since they could lead one so far from the incisive mark into a realm of dreams.
Well, be that as it may. I love the guy and there’s no help for it. So I am taking everything about him more seriously beginning with his drawings, those strange, intensely private, small scribbles — some of which are hardly bigger than a largish postage stamp.
What I love about Pierre Bonnard’s painting is his attention to beautiful oddities — making whole pictures — complex pictures from perceptions, memories.
I’m asking myself about the directness of thought and feeling that he gets from the small gestures. When so much of the spectacle before our eyes eludes us anyway, why not grab for the ephemeral by crude and quick means. Pull as much of reality as you can get into a tense, small line and hope for the best. A Bonnard drawing is a hope and a prayer — and a quick ploy to nudge Mother Nature into yielding over some of the richness of her material splendor.