Bonnard's response to Verlaine's poems on the parallelism of human nature was unprecedented in its rich expansiveness, his 109 designs suggesting the Rococo splendor of red-chalk drawings by Boucher and Watteau. The book, published by Ambroise Vollard, was the first modern livre de peintre, combining a classically printed text with a painter's freehand allusions. The illustrations are luxuriously unconfined by either strict format or literal attention to the text, and flow with extraordinary immediacy. While one contemporary critic dismissed the work as "uncertain ... stutterings," another declared that never before had illustrations been so perfectly adapted to a book of verse. Indeed, the harmonious relationship of word and image set a new standard in book design.
Bouvet 73; Ives 82; Roger-Marx 94; Boston (Artist and Book) 27; Johnson no. 22, pp. 18-19; Skira 21; Mahé p. 25; Rausch 21; Lewis pp. 81-83; Vicaire VII.994
Jean Floury Essai de catalogue de l'oeuvre gravé et lithographié de Pierre Bonnard in Charles Terrasse, Bonnard. see Notes, 1927, p. 40.
Claude Roger-Marx Bonnard lithographe. Monte Carlo: André Sauret, 1952, p. 94.
Colta Ives, Janet S. Byrne, Mary L. Myers, Suzanne Boorsch, Weston J. Naef, David W. Kiehl, The Metropolitan Museum of Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1965-1975: Prints, Architecture and Ornament. New York, 1975, p. 190, ill.
Francis Bouvet, Jane Brenton, Antoine Terrasse Bonnard: The Complete Graphic Work. 1981, p. 73.
Colta Ives, Helen Giambruni, Sasha M. Newman Pierre Bonnard: The Graphic Art. Exh. cat. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1990, pp. 162-172, cat. no. 82, fig. no. 223,227-8,231, pp. 164-65,167-6, ill.