Before Dinner

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

Date: 1924

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 35 1/2 x 42 in. (90.2 x 106.7 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Robert Lehman Collection, 1975

Accession Number: 1975.1.156

Rights and Reproduction: © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Pierre Bonnard often painted the familiar interiors of his residence, whether in Paris, Vernon, or Le Cannet. Here the artist presents a shimmering still life of a\dinnertime table setting in Vernon, his house near Monet’s Giverny in Normandy. His protagonists have little dialogue, clearly lost in their own thoughts. Only the family dachshund anticipates the meal and its conviviality. The interior’s absence of perspective, flattening of forms, and decorative surface patterns in warm hues are central to Bonnard’s aesthetic.