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"La Revue Blanche"


Pierre Bonnard
15 3/4'' x 11 3/8''

Original chromo-lithograph from Les Maîtres de l'Affiche, Plate 38.

Created by Thadée Natanson with his brothers Alexandre and Alfred, La Revue Blanche was an innovative journal of the Parisian art and literary scene in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It published first translations of Tolstoy, Ibsen, and Mark Twain, and had as regular contributors André Gide, Apollinaire, Mallarme, and Proust. The magazine was tied to the Nabis, or “the prophets”, a group of symbolist artists who developed their own aesthetic combining spiritualism and decorative art. Bonnard was a significant member of this group, and created this image to promote La Revue Blanche in 1894. This version was published as part of Les Maîtres de l’Affiche, the important publication of poster designs that was purchased by collectors, in 1896. It bears the embossed plate mark in the lower right corner.

The Nabis were interested in mysterious images, a fascination evident here. A solid gray field consumes the center of the poster, giving form to the three figures. A woman walks towards the viewer, an urchin gestures at her, and another figure lurks in the background. Often identified as the back of a man in an opera cape and top hat, it looks more immediately like some kind of black-eyed creature. These individuals are endowed with life through carefully placed details; distinguishing features that float on the solid gray uniting them. The large lettering encircles the woman’s dress and merges with the background, questioning where different elements exist in space. In his design, Bonnard approaches lithography as the equal of any other medium, creating an image that defies solution and remains one of the period’s greatest works.

Condition A. Archivally matted and framed in a simple black Nielsen metal frame.



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