Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), The Bathroom (The Dressing Room with Pink Sofa) (1908), oil on canvas, 125 x 109 cm, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium. The Athenaeum.
Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) lived with Marthe Bonnard (1869-1942) for almost fifty years. Their relationship spanned the great majority of his professional career, and is reflected in a high proportion of his paintings and drawings. Here is a small selection which may help you trace their relationship as well as his artistic development. As this consists of over thirty paintings (for which I make no apology), I will keep my comments to a minimum.
Pierre and Marthe met in Montmartre, Paris in 1893. Her real name was Maria Boursin, but she lived under the name of Marthe de Méligny. She claimed to be sixteen when they met, but if the year of her birth is correct, she would have been ten years older.
Woman Pulling on her Stockings (1893), probably one of his first paintings of Marthe.
Man and Woman in an Interior (1898), known better from his later Man and Woman (c 1900), below.
Woman Dozing on a Bed or Indolence 1899.
Man and Woman (c 1900).
Marthe on a Divan (c 1900).
Marthe in the Bathtub (1907), one of very many photos of Marthe taken by Bonnard.
El Tocador (The Dressing Table) (1908).
The Bathroom or The Dressing Room with Pink Sofa (1908).
Reflection or The Tub (1909).
Kneeling Woman or Nude with Tub (1913).
Resting in the Garden (1914).
The Provençal Carafe, Marthe Bonnard and Her Dog Ubu (1915).
Le Café (Coffee) (1915).
In 1916, Bonnard met Renée Monchaty, a friend of Marthe’s, and fell deeply in love with her; she modelled for several of his paintings, and threw Marthe into rages of jealousy on occasion. He also had an affair with Lucienne Dupuy de Frenelle, the wife of a doctor, who is the model for several other of his works.
The Spring (Nude in the Bath) (1917).
The Vigil (1921).
Nude Bending Down (1923).
In 1924, Marthe had her first exhibition of pastel paintings in the Druet Gallery; she signed herself Marthe Solange.
In 1925, Pierre Bonnard and Marthe finally married, in a quiet civil ceremony in Paris, in August. None of their friends attended the wedding. Within a month, Bonnard’s former lover Renée Monchaty shot herself in the chest, as she lay in a bath of white roses.
Pink Nude Reflected in a Mirror (c 1925).
Nu dans la baignoire or Nude in the Bath (1925). It is not known whether Bonnard painted this before Renée Monchaty’s suicide in a bath.
Baignoire (Le Bain) or The Bath (1925).
The Vestibule (c 1927). Marthe is deeper into the painting, on the right, and the woman with short hair at the left appears to be the Bonnards’ maid.
Nude with Radiator (1928). Marthe is almost sixty years old here.
Breakfast (c 1930).
Nude by the Bathtub (1931).
White Interior (1932). Marthe is on the far side of the table, almost blending in with the carpet.
Nude in Bathroom (Cabinet de Toilette) (1932).
Marthe in the Dining Room (1933).
Nude before a Mirror (c 1933).
The Pedicure (1936).
Nude and Chair (c 1936-38).
The Large Bath, Nude (1937-38).
Nude in Bathtub (c 1938-41).
On 26 January 1942, Marthe Bonnard died in their villa at Le Cannet in the south of France.
Marthe Entering the Room (1942).
The Bath (1942).
Young Women in the Garden shows Renée Monchaty, the blonde, and Marthe Bonnard, and is believed to have been painted between 1921-46. If those dates are correct, Marthe was at least 52 years old at the time.
Guy Cogeval and Isabelle Cahn (2016) Pierre Bonnard, Painting Arcadia, Prestel. ISBN 978 3 791 35524 5.
Gilles Genty and Pierrette Vernon (2006) Bonnard Inédits, Éditions Cercle d’Art (in French). ISBN 978 2 702 20707 9.
Timothy Hyman (1998) Bonnard, World of Art, Thames and Hudson. ISBN 978 0 500 20310 1.