Andr� Ostier, Pierre Bonnard, 1941, silver gelatin photograph (Detail)
Introduction | Gallery | Literature | Chronology | Glossary | Education Kit NGA logo
Pierre BONNARD | The Provençal Jug [Le Pot provençal]
Click to enlarge
France 1867 – 1947
The Provençal Jug
[Le Pot provençal]
oil on canvas
75.5 (h) x 62.0 (w) cm
Private collection

Framed within the strong horizontal of the shadowed edge of an alcove and the vertical wedge of a wall sits a ceramic pot containing dark spiky flowers and leaves. The subtle shadows behind the flowers and on the diagonal wall form a half tone between the dramatic darkness of the foliage and the yellow and white of the walls and shelf.

On either side of the main subject are two characteristically cropped and enigmatic shapes, on the left an open bowl with a blue interior and on the right the elbow and hand of an upraised, fully clad arm. In the top right corner is a black shape that although indeterminate is linked visually with the figure on the right.

Spacial ambiguity is common in the work of Bonnard. Although here we read the shelf as being on a tilted horizontal plane, the vase (despite casting a shadow) is divided into horizontal bands that flatten it into a circular plane. Ironically the arm on the right, which we read as having volume, does not cast a shadow.

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.