On 11 December 2013, the Musée d'Orsay purchased a painting by Pierre Bonnard, painted around 1895 and entitled Dancers or The Ballet, at a public auction.
This painting, depicting an unusual subject for Bonnard, represents the left side of the forestage of the Italian-style auditorium of the Palais Garnier opera house in Paris with four lines of dancers viewed from an elevated perspective, almost directly above the stage.
Bonnard was likely seated in the amphitheatre watching the show through opera glasses, which would explain the curious composition of the painting, tightly focused on the ballerinas and excluding the orchestra and the spectators. The brown paint bordering the rounded edge of the stage in the bottom right corner slightly overlaps while the boundary between the two is emphasised by a blue-green halo.
This view point evokes some of Degas' works on dance such as Ballet Rehearsal on Stage from 1874 or The Ballet (pastel) around 1876, housed at the Musée d'Orsay.
This emblematic painting of Bonnard's Nabis period was either presented by its author as a gift or bought by Thadée Natanson, who was the first owner. Its acquisition completes the collection of small format Nabis paintings while demonstrating the link between Bonnard and Degas through a key theme in modernity: stage shows. It also represents an important milestone in conveying the connection between painting and photography at the end of the 19th century.
Breton Legend is one of Edgard Maxence's most ambitious Symbolist compositions, painted during his period of artistic maturity. Sheltering under a dolmen, in the light of a full russet moon, a young girl dressed in a Pont-Aven costume appears to be terrified by the appearance of a fairy or sorceress... Read more
Sculpture bought in October, 2013 :
Adolfo Wildt (1868-1931)
Vir temporis acti
1921 (modèle de 1915)
H. 55 ; W. 55 cm