By the Sea, Under the Pines (1921) is Pierre Bonnard’s picnic of mood and atmosphere not food and drink. It’s situated on the bluff near St. Tropez overlooking the brilliant blue ocean. Around the woman, a man, a child and a recumbent dog, everything is gold, yellow, brown and green. It’s a palette suggesting happiness and leisure. Delightful.
Bonnard’s colorful style shows the influence of a groups of painters calling themselves Les Nabis, a term that means prophet in Hebrew, but seems to defy meaning in terms of their art. The effect of their uses of color tend towards ostentation (not quite). Compare for example, By the Sea with Bonnard’s earlier painting The Family Claude Terrasse (1899).
Featured Image: Pierre Bonnard. By the Sea, Under the Pines [Bord de mer, sous les pins] (1921), oil on canvas. Private Collection.The identity of the picnickers is unknown to me. at the time, Bonnard was not yet married to his mistress Marthe, and they did not have any children.
See: Jean & Henry Dauberville, Bonnard, catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint, III, 1920-1939, Paris: Bernheim, 1968-1974; Albert Kostenvitch. Bonnard and the Nabis. New York: Parkstone International, May 8, 2012