In the early 1890s, Bonnard's very young nieces and nephews began to spend their holidays at Le Clos, the old family house in the village of Le Grand-Lemps near the French Alps. Their impish presence inspired the artist to paint a range of new subjects. Foremost among these were his celebrated "intimist" interiors, in which he also evoked his own childhood holidays in the same house.
Bonnard captured the daily ritual of a meal shared by all generations in this close-up view of the dining room at Le Clos. Around the curved table sit, from the left, the artist's eighty-three-year-old grandmother, Madame Frédéric Mertzdorff, his three-year-old nephew, Jean, and his thirty-three-year-old sister, Andrée Terrasse, with her two-year-old son, Charles, in her lap. Andrée had married the composer Claude Terrasse at Le Clos in 1890.
In this family scene, Bonnard juxtaposes early youth with old age and at the same time records young Jean's first attempts at growing up, as, armed with a very large spoon and without a helping hand, he eats his soup.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): Bonnard/ 95
the artist's nephew, Charles Terrasse, Paris; private collection, France; [Brame & Lorenceau, Paris, until 1999; sold in 1999 to Devrishian]; David Allen Devrishian, Fairfield, N. J. (1999; his gift to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Painters in Paris: 1895–1950," March 8–December 31, 2000, extended to January 14, 2001, unnumbered cat. (p. 60).
Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. "Picasso and the School of Paris: Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," September 14–November 24, 2002, no. 3.
Tokyo. Bunkamura Museum of Art. "Picasso and the School of Paris: Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," December 7, 2002–March 9, 2003, no. 3.
René-Marie. "Bonnard et son Époque." Le Point 24 (1943), ill. p. 19, as "La grand'mère, la mère et les deux petits-enfants".
Léon Werth. "Le Peintre." Pierre Bonnard. Paris, 1945, ill. p. 7 (color), as "La grand'mère, la mère et les deux petits-enfants," in a private collection.
Jean and Henry Dauberville. Bonnard: Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint. Vol. 1, 1888–1905. Paris, 1965, p. 156, no. 105, ill., as "La Grand'mère, la mère et les deux petits enfants".
Jean and Henry Dauberville. Bonnard: Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint révisé et augmenté, 1888–1905. 2nd rev. ed. [1st ed., 1965]. Paris, 1992, p. 156, no. 105, ill., as "La Grand'mère, la mère et les deux petits enfants".
Sabine Rewald in "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 1998–1999." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 57 (Autumn 1999), pp. 48–49, ill. (color), identifies the setting as the dining room in Bonnard's family house, Le Clos, in the village of Le Grand-Lemps, and the figures as Bonnard's grandmother, Mme Frédéric Mertzdorff, his three-year old nephew, Jean, and his sister, Andrée Terrasse holding her two-year old son, Charles.
"A Selection of 1999 Museum Acquisitions." Apollo 150 (December 1999), ill. p. 43 (color).
William S. Lieberman inPicasso and the School of Paris: Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Exh. cat., Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. [Tokyo], 2002, pp. 28, 32, 166, no. 3, ill. (color), notes the influence of Japanese ukiyo-e prints in this composition.