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Andr� Ostier, Pierre Bonnard, 1941, silver gelatin photograph (Detail)
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Pierre BONNARD | La revue blanche
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Pierre BONNARD
France 1867 – 1947
La revue blanche 1894
Poster
colour lithographic poster
80.0 (h) x 62.0 (w) cm
Purchased with the assistance of Orde Poynton Esq. AO CMG
NGA 1992.1380

Pasted up on the Parisian streets this dramatic image of dark silhouetted figures against a grey background would certainly have caught the eye. Dividing the poster vertically is the sultry image of a well-dressed woman in a large flowered hat and fashionable mantle. She is holding a copy of La revue blanche in one hand, as a small boy with gestures towards it with his thumb. Both figures look down and to the right, creating a diagonal that animates the basic grid of the composition. Behind them a menacing black shape (sometimes read as a rear view of a man wearing a top hat with collar upraised) looks at a wall of magazines.

The ‘l’ of the ‘la’ hangs from her arm like an umbrella, while the ‘a’ curves around the leg of the woman. The tail of the ‘b’ defines one side of her dress, the other ‘l’ makes a division between the two figures. The text is hand written and sustains the wobbly quality of Bonnard’s line that is especially prevalent in the urchin’s face. Note how the pattern of the chequered scarf remains flat and decorative. Bonnard here refers to Japanese woodcut prints, where flat areas of plain colour and pattern deny the illusion of space.

La revue blanche was a monthly magazine founded in 1889 by the Natanson brothers. It published contemporary and avant garde literature, political comment and images. Bonnard designed all kinds of material for the magazine, which in turn promoted his name. Misia Godebska, the wife of Thadee Natanson was possibly the model for the female figure in this poster.

Article authored by the NGA Education department
Introduction | Gallery | Literature | Chronology | Glossary | Education Kit
The Pierre Bonnard works on this page are reproduced with the permission of
ADAGP, Paris and VISCOPY Ltd, Sydney 2003.