http://www.kunsthaus.ch/en/the-collection/conservation/examples-from-the-world-of-art-conservation/?redirect_url=cfeiisqv

Kunsthaus Zürich

Pierre Bonnard

Restoration of the four-part work «Panneaux décoratifs – femmes au jardin»

Pierre Bonnard
Decorative panels - Women in the Garden, 1890/91
Distemper over charcoal, pencil and white chalk on paper, mounted on canvas, each 154 x 47 cm
Society of Zurich Friends of Art, Donated by Ernst Gamper, 1984
Pierre Bonnard
Decorative panels - Women in the Garden, 1890/91
Distemper over charcoal, pencil and white chalk on paper, mounted on canvas, each 154 x 47 cm
Society of Zurich Friends of Art, Donated by Ernst Gamper, 1984

Painted by Bonnard in 1890/91, the four-part work «Women in the Garden» is the incomplete first version of a screen; the second, more complete version is now in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris. The bold depiction of four female figures of different sizes was a new departure for Bonnard in the style of the Nabis. The panels were originally conceived as a four-part screen but were separated by Bonnard soon afterwards, as he felt that the individual parts worked better as free-standing paintings.

Born in Fontenay-aux-Roses near Paris in 1867, Pierre Bonnard was one of the leading figures in the group of artists known as the Nabis («prophets»), which formed in 1889 and emulated the style of Paul Gauguin and the Japanese woodcut.

Pierre Bonnard «Ensemble de quatre panneaux décoratifs» 
(2nd version), each 160 x 48 cm, tempera and distemper on paper, mounted on canvas, 1891, Musée D’Orsay, Paris.
Pierre Bonnard «Ensemble de quatre panneaux décoratifs»
(2nd version), each 160 x 48 cm, tempera and distemper on paper, mounted on canvas, 1891, Musée D’Orsay, Paris.

The «Panneaux décoratifs» were acquired by the Kunsthaus Zürich in 1984 and have been an integral part of the permanent collection ever since. They were painted in the manner of studies, and their current condition may be described as somewhat precarious. They present a number of conservation problems, such as paint loss and layer separation, which require urgent treatment.

This major work from the Kunsthaus Zürich can now be conserved and restored thanks to the generous support of the art insurance specialist Nationale Suisse.

Exhibition in 2015

Once the restoration is complete, the work will be displayed once again at the Kunsthaus Zürich next year. It will first be shown as part of «Monet, Gauguin, van Gogh – Japanese Inspirations» from September 2014 at the Folkwang Museum in Essen, before moving with the exhibition to the Kunsthaus in February 2015.