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Matisse, Picasso, Bonnard…. The Sleeping Beauties at Bonnard Museum

matisse, bonnard, picasso, brancusi, the provence herald,
Written by KeiKwan Kwong Published Aug 20, 2014
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Bonnard Museum in Le Cannet reveals the innermost motives of modern artists on dreams, sleep and sleeping beauties through exhibition Les Belles endormies (The Sleeping Beauties). It includes paintings and sculptures from Bonnard, Vuillard, Vallotton, Matisse, Picasso, Brancusi, Van Dongen and many others. The eternal feminine is sublimated through the artists’ eyes. 

exhibition, les belles endormies, bonnard museum

(Pierre Bonnard, Femme endormie, vers 1928, huile sur toile, 50 x 71 cm, collection particulière  © Adagp, Paris 2014  © Christie’s images / The Bridgeman Art Library)

Dream has been a subject of reflection for the artists since antiquity. For art historian Isabelle Monod-Fontaine, this “magic suspension of time” has become a fascinating subject in pictorial and literary expressions through the ages. It gave birth to uncountable variations of models asleep, an allegory of abandonment.

Matisse, Picasso, Bonnard…. Paintings of Desire

exhibition; les belles endormies; bonnard museum

(Constantin Brancusi La Muse endormie, 1910 Bronze, 16,5 x 26 x 18 cm Musée national d’Art moderne – Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris © Collection Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI , Dist. RMN / Philippe Migeat © Adagp, Paris 2014)

A painting may become “an object of desire for both its creator and the viewer.” Such idea is demonstrated through around fifty works dating from the late 19th century, encompassing the symbolists and les Nabis, until the 1950’s. The artists reveal their innermost selves through poetic or erotic representations.

The Exhibition

exhibition, les belles endormies, bonnard museum

(Félix Vallotton Femme étendue au bord de l’eau, 1921 Huile sur toile, 122 cm x 192 cm Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Strasbourg © Adagp, Paris 2014)

The title and the spirit of the exhibition owe much to the famous book of Yasunari Kawabata, The House of the Sleeping Beauties. Véronique Serrano, commissioner of the exhibition and the chief conservator at Bonnard Museum, added that the essay by Isabelle Monod-Fontaine on dreams and Matisse also had an impact on the exhibition.

In the works of the late 19th century till modern times, the idea of dreams and sleep is omnipresent. It has become even an archetype of paintings, sculptures, photography, poetry and literature. Fascinated by psychoanalysis and Freud’s interpretations of dreams in 1900, many artists expressed their own personal views on the topic in their works.

exhibition, les belles endormies, bonnard museum

(Pablo Picasso Femme couchée, 1932 Huile sur toile, 38 x 46 cm Musée national d’Art moderne – Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris Donation de Louise et Michel Leiris, 1984 © Collection Centre Pompidou, Dist. RMN / Bertrand Prévost © Succession Picasso, 2014)

exhibition, les belles endormies, bonnard museum

(Maurice Denis La Belle au bois d’automne, 1892 Huile sur carton, 25 cm x 44 cm Collection particulière)

exhibition, les belles endormies, bonnard museum

(Pierre Bonnard, Femme assoupie sur un lit ou L’Indolente,  1899, huile sur toile, 96 x 106 cm, musée d’Orsay, Paris © Adagp, Paris 2014 © RMN Grand Palais (Musée d’Orsay) / S. Maréchalle)

Practical Information:

Musée Bonnard
16 boulevard Sadi Carnot – 06110 Le Cannet – Côte d’Azur – France
Tél. 04 93 94 06 06
Fax. 04 92 18 24 41

Exhibition – Les Belles endormies
Until 2 November 2014
10 :00 – 20 :00 (21 :00 on Thursdays)

From 1 October
10:00 – 18:00 (20:00 on Thursdays)

Closed on Mondays and 1 November.


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