The Checkered Tablecloth

Artist: Pierre Bonnard (French, Fontenay-aux-Roses 1867–1947 Le Cannet)

Date: 1916

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 20 in. × 26 1/2 in. (50.8 × 67.3 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Partial and Promised Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Dillon, 1998

Accession Number: 1998.412.1

Rights and Reproduction: © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


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.