This painting continues a succession of scenes of dining room interiors that Bonnard created with infinite variations throughout his career. The motif first appeared in the early 1890s. In these scenes, figures often flank the far sides of the gently curved dining tables-children, parents, nannies, or grannies-with the children's heads usually level with the still-life objects, sometimes creating humorous effects.
This work is different. The rectangular table is tilted so far upward as to appear nearly parallel with the picture plane. Because figures are absent, the objects-a fruit bowl with apples, pears, and grapes; bottles; assorted knifes with ebony handles; glasses; and small dishes-dominate the show on the strawberry-red checkered ground.
Inscription: Signed (lower left): Bonnard
the artist (1916–d. 1947; his estate, from 1947); [Acquavella Galleries, New York, until 1965/66; sold to Dillon]; Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Dillon, New York (by 1966; partial and promised gift to MMA, 1998)
New York. Acquavella Galleries. "Pierre Bonnard," November 9–December 11, 1965, no. 16 (as "Nappe à carreaux, nature morte").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Summer Loan Exhibition: Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture from Private Collections," July 8–September 6, 1966, checklist no. 3 (as "The Checkered Tablecloth," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Douglas C. Dillon).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "New York Collects," July 3–September 2, 1968, no. 16 (as "The Checkered Tablecloth," lent anonymously).
Jean and Henry Dauberville. Bonnard: Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint. Vol. 2, 1906–1919. Paris, 1968, p. 395, no. 883, ill., as "Nappe à carreaux" or "Nature morte".
Sabine Rewald in "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 1998–1999." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 57 (Autumn 1999), p. 49, ill. (color).