Pierre Bonnard. The Colour of Memory

Special Exhibitions /07.06 - 22.09.2019

When the exhibition Pierre Bonnard. The Colour of Memory opened at The Glyptotek, it offered the first oppertunity in more than 25 years to experience a special exhibition in Denmark of the French artist Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947).




Kr. Dagblad

”Breath-taking exhibition” – Weekendavisen
”You want to touch and taste Pierre Bonnard’s colours” – Information

The exhibition shows more than 100 works by Pierre Bonnard and consists of loans from museums and collectors from all over the world as well as The Glyptotek’s own pieces by Bonnard. The exhibition is created in close collaboration with Tate Modern, London, who are were showing it until May 6th 2019.

The Colour of Memory

Pierre Bonnard is one of French art’s most magnificent colourists and innovators of composition and perspective. His paintings open windows into a private world of quiet everyday events. But they are rarely direct translations of what the artist has seen. Bonnard paints from memory, detaching himself from his subjects and resurrecting them in colour, plane and form. He fills his canvas with the colour of memory.


Award winning sound designer Peter Albrechtsen, known for his work on films like Thelma, Generation Wealth and Dunkirk, and film director Sun Hee Engelstoft, who recently premiered with the praised film Forget Me Not, have created three unique soundscapes for central works in the exhibition: The Dining Room, The Studio with Mimosas and Lunch in the Garden. The selected works are brought to life through sound compositions which guide the eye around in complex surfaces of the paintings and their concealed motifs.  With atmospheric sounds of nature recorded in the parts of France where Bonnard lived, the experience becomes total and the paintings’ wealth of colour gains an extra dimension.

A modern artist?

Pierre Bonnard’s place in the history of art has long been debated, especially because his work straddles two centuries. Does he belong in the late 19th century, where he enjoys early success as an artist? Or should he be written into 20th-century modernism alongside artists like Henri Matisse (1869-1954) and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)? The gist of the discussion is whether Bonnard’s paintings are “modern”. This also involves the question of what we expect of so-called “modern painting”. Pierre Bonnard divides opinions, not only today but also in his own time. Matisse praises Bonnard’s paintings, while Picasso calls them a “potpourri of indecision”.

The exhibition looks at Pierre Bonnard as being a modern artist in 20th century. His modernity is not conspicuous, in the way of Matisse and Picasso. He does not reduce his subject to pure geometric forms or colour planes. He never abandons figuration but weaves it into abstraction. Bonnard insists on being free and independent, including of the fast-changing art movements of the 20th century.

See the Glyptotek’s collection of French paintings. 

Our sincere thanks for generous support of the exhibition from:

Augustinus Fonden
Aage og Johanne Louis-Hansens Fond

The exhibition is organised by Tate Modern, London in collaboration with The Glyptotek and Kunstforum Wien, Vienna. It is curated by Anna Kærsgaard Gregersen, Curator, Modern Collection, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek and Matthew Gale, Head of Displays, Tate Modern, London.

Read more +

Nude in the Interior, 1935, Pierre Bonnard, Courtesy the National Gallery of Art, Washington © PR Photo


The Bowl of Milk (Le Bol de Lait), c.1919, Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947). TATE. Photo Credit ©Tate, London 2019


Landscape from the South of France, 1920-1921, Pierre Bonnard, © Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek


The Dining Room, 1925, Pierre Bonnard, © Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek


See the exciting activities and events, the Glyptotek has to offer. Please note, the events in Danish will not be presented here. Go to the Danish version of the homepage to see all events.


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