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The Little Laundress (La petite blanchisseuse)
Pierre Bonnard, 1896

The Little Laundress (La petite blanchisseuse)

Pierre Bonnard (1867 - 1947)

lithograph in five colours on China paper, 49.5 cm x 37.8 cm
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)


The French artist Pierre Bonnard was brilliant at representing intimate, everyday scenes. This laundrywoman is a beautiful example. The little figure with her big basket creates a simple, touching atmosphere, which is heightened by the little dog.

Bonnard constructed the scene from a series of planes, to which the lithography technique lent itself well. The grey street with its white stones takes up a large part of the image. The silhouette of the laundrywoman stands out strongly against the light background – a pictorial style that derives from Japanese printmaking. The shadow theatre of the print artist Henri Rivière was another source of inspiration. Performances at Le Chat Noir nightclub used figures cut from sheets of zinc, the shadows of which were cast onto a white screen by a bright light. Bonnard and his fellow artists were regular members of the audience.

The Little Laundress comes from the Album des peintres-graveurs, which contained twenty-two prints in a variety of styles and techniques, each by a different artist or engraver. It was offered for sale by the art dealer Ambroise Vollard at 150 francs a copy. Publishing a compilation like this was a way to meet strong demand for prints.

Image: © c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2014

What is it?
What can you see?
Context
printmaker
printer
publisher

Object data

Object number
p1108V2000
Dimensions
49.5 cm x 37.8 cm, 29.4 cm x 19.8 cm
Catalogue raisonné
Roger-Marx 42, Bouvet 40

Inscription/label

signature and date
Bonnard 96
number
Cl 132

Literature

  • Francis Bouvet ; introd. by Antoine Terrasse, Bonnard : the complete graphic work, 1981, p. 48-49
  • Contributions de Jacques Chaban-Delmas ...[et al.], Hommage à Bonnard, 1986, p. 172
  • Jürgen Döring, Toulouse-Lautrec und die Belle Epoque, 2002, p. 152-153
  • Jean-Louis Prat, Bonnard, 1999, p. 218
  • Georges Roque, La stratégie de Bonnard : couleur, lumière, regard, 2006, p. 189
  • Véronique Serrano, Dessins de Pierre Bonnard : une collection privée, 2007, p. 20-21
  • ed. by Patricia Eckert Boyer ; with essays Patricia Eckert Boyer and Elizabeth Prelinger, The Nabis and the Parisian Avant-Garde, cop. 1988, p. 71, 73
  • Gilles Genty, Pierrette Vernon, Bonnard : inédits, 2003, p. 80-81
  • Colta Ives, Helen Giambruni, Sasha M. Newman, Pierre Bonnard : the graphic art, cop. 1989, no. 48-51
  • Anisabelle Berès et Michel Arveiller, Les peintres graveurs, 1890-1900, 2002, no. 3
  • Janine Bailly-Herzberg ; preface de Michel Melot, Dictionnaire de l'estampe en France 1830-1950, 1985, p. 361
  • Hrsg. von Claire Frèches-Thory und Ursula Perucchi-Petri, Die Nabis : Propheten der Moderne, 1993, p. 436-437
  • [red. par Anisabelle Berès ; avec collaboration Geneviève Aitken et Brigitte Letonturier], Au temps des Nabis, 1990, no. 39-40
  • cat. researched and prepared by William Weston, Masterworks in lithography : Pierre Bonnard 1867-1947, Édouard Vuillard 1868-1940, 1996, no. 8
  • [Claire Frèches-Thory, Ursula Perucchi-Petri], Nabis 1888-1900 : Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Henri-Gabriel Ibels, Georges Lacombe, Aristide Maillol, Paul-Elie Ranson, József Rippl-Rónai, Kerr-Xavier Roussel, Paul Sérusier, Félix Vallotton, Jan Verkade, Edouard Vuillard, 1993, no.250-251
  • par François Fossier, La nébuleuse Nabie : les Nabis et l'art graphique, 1993, p. 108, 117, 119
  • Ursula Perucchi-Petri, Die Nabis und das moderne Paris : Bonnard, Vuillard, Vallotton und Toulouse-Lautrec, aus der Sammlung Arthur und Hedy Hahnloser-Bühler und aus Schweizer Museums- und Privatbesitz, 2001, p. 63-68
  • Claire Frèches-Thory, Antoine Terrasse, Les Nabis, 2002, p. 226-227, 229
  • Una E. Johnson, Ambroise Vollard, editeur : prints, books, bronzes, cop. 1977, p. 17-45
  • Jean-Paul Morel, C'était Ambroise Vollard, 2007, p. 259-271
  • John Ittmann, Post-impressionist prints : Paris in the 1890s, 1998, p. 52-56
  • Gabriel P. Weisberg ...[et al.], Japonisme : Japanese influence on French art 1854-1910, 1975, p. 104-105
  • Colta Feller Ives, The great wave : the influence of Japanese woodcuts on French prints, 1974, p. 56-66
  • ed. by Pat Gilmour, Lasting Impressions : lithography as art, cop. 1988, p.129-175
  • Ursula Perucchi-Petri ; Vorwort Eduard Hüttinger, Die Nabis und Japan : das Frühwerk von Bonnard, Vuillard und Denis, 1976, p. 76
  • Ed. by Elizabeth W. Easton ; with contributions by Clément Chéroux, Saskia Ooms, Hans Rooseboom ... [et al.], Snapshot : painters and photography 1888-1915, 2011
  • par Claude Roger-Marx, Bonnard lithographe, 1952, p. 77, 80-81
  • Elizabeth Hutton Turner ; with contr. by Nancy Coleman Wolsk ... [et al.], Pierre Bonnard : early and late, 2002, p. 192
  • Robert Theodore Wang, The graphic art of the Nabis, 1888-1900, 1986, p. 156-166
  • ed. Rebecca A. Rabinow ; Douglas W. Druick, Ann Dumas ... [et al.], Cézanne to Picasso : Ambroise Vollard, patron of the Avant-Garde, 2006, p. 189-196
  • David A. Brenneman ; with contributions from Riva Castleman, Laura Dickey, Frances Fowle ... [et al.], Toulouse-Lautrec & friends : the Irene and Howard Stein collection, 2010, p. 110-113
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