The house of Pierre Bonnard
The image of a painter who embodies happiness, a tranquil father cosily hidden away in his Normandy house, by the side of Marthe, his beloved wife, who obsessed him as a model, still survives. Poetically nicknamed “Ma Roulotte” (“My Caravan”), the house with the wooden balcony still echoes with the strains of the artistic melancholy of one of France’s great 20th-century painters.
Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), the great colourist, moved to Vernon in 1910. It was here that the solitary painter gave free rein to his sensitive perception for nearly 30 years. He painted the changing skies of the Eure countryside, with nuance and a light touch, creating sublime colours and light, as in a dream.
Thanks to the exhibitions that are regularly devoted to his work, this “little acre” of art from France and the Eure reaches the vast spaces of galleries around the world. Among the artist’s works that are considered “unclassifiable”, are the mythological rooms of the Bonnard residence: the dining room, the bedroom, the garden, the terrace facing the Seine, and of course the bathroom, where a young unclothed Marthe lives on for eternity. She was depicted 384 times.
Today the residence of this exceptional and timeless artist is the property of the City of Vernon, and has a unique future before it.
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