Pierre Bonnard: The Colour Of Memory

Pierre Bonnard: The Colour Of Memory

Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947), Nude in the Bath

The Tate Modern presents the first major Pierre Bonnard exhibition in 20 years, bringing together over 100 of his greatest pieces from around the world. Bonnard’s intense colours and modern compositions transformed painting in the first half of the 20th century, and he had an undeniable talent in capturing fleeting moments, memories and emotions on canvas.


After admiring his sensuous work throughout the Tate, we’re feeling inspired by the painter’s command of colour and considering the creativity behind our own spring-summer collection.

“If one has in sequence a simple colour as the point of departure, one composes the whole painting around it.” Pierre Bonnard

Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947), Summer 1917

Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947), Window Open on the Seine (Vernon)

Colour and print lead the way for our spring-summer collection, with our palette pursuing earthy tones, such as sand and terracotta, alongside vibrant bright greens, blues and oranges – mirroring the mood of many of Bonnard’s paintings at the Tate. Whether he focused on bustling crowds or landscapes and gardens, the painter was celebrated for going beyond natural appearances to intensify colour and set sharply contrasting shades alongside each other. Looking ahead to spring-summer, many of our styles follow this theme and are reimagined in eye-catching and unexpected colour combinations.

In 1912, when he was already in his mid-forties, Bonnard altered the direction of his painting and his exploration of colour really took off – proving it is never too late for a creative to evolve. He began to experiment with raw colours and focus increasingly on landscape, making regular trips to explore the countryside around Paris.


By the early 1920s he started to draw inspiration from new subjects again, delving into colour and composition further with energetic oil paintings on canvas, often relying on his own memory of people and settings rather than photographs.

Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947), Coffee 1915

“Certainly colour had carried me away. I sacrificed form to it almost unconsciously.” Pierre Bonnard

Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947), The Garden 1936

Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947), The Window 1925

Our design team are often influenced in a similar way by locations and settings, as well as arts and popular culture, and this can vary from season to season. For spring-summer they have pushed the boundaries of print and colour further to form a contemporary and unique collection. Floral motifs are bright and frenetic, while a classic snake print is refreshed in acid yellow, all of which is complemented by mood-enhancing hues of lime, orange and coral. This is a carefree and confident collection to look forward to.

“It was important for a free-spirited mood to be felt in everything from the colour palettes to the prints this season.” Gemma Hyde, Head of Design

Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947), The Dining Room 1924

Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947), Dining Room in the Country 1913

Whether you’re planning to reimagine your wardrobe ahead of spring-summer, inject your interiors with more colour or just looking for an inspiring setting to spend a Sunday afternoon, Pierre Bonnard: The Colour of Memory is a must-see exhibition this year.


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