PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas November 2023

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L ight, color, canvas: PaperCity queries Kimbell deputy director George Shackelford on the eve of his curatorial triumph — the museum's blockbuster exhibition "Bonnard's Worlds," opening this month. Lauded as one of fall's 12 must- see museum shows in the U.S. by artnet. com, it's the first look at Post-Impressionist painter Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947) in nearly 40 years, Shackelford divulges his top three among the 70 breathtaking canvases debuting in Fort Worth before Bonnard of art, which is what he's seeking to make real when he faces a blank canvas. The idea comes from something around him, typically — his wife and one of their dachshunds across the table, say — and it sticks. Once the idea is there, a certain amount of thinking ensues, and often he's thinking with a pencil. With an idea in mind, he may make some sketches on pages in his diary, or on a scrap of paper, just to "practice" the composition that is taking shape. All of this is brain work, but I suspect that a lot of it is intuitive. People describe him painting more than one picture at a time — all tacked to the same wall — so a lot of inspiration is momentary. The idea, though, must be there for the process to begin. WW: Why does your take on Bonnard venture into the emotive and psychological, rather than following the typical curatorial vision of arranging works in chronological order? GS: When the Kimbell acquired the great Landscape at Le Cannet (1928) in 2018, I was researching the painting's history and the circumstances of its creation and was surprised to find that it was a commission for a particular spot in a particular patron's house. I was intrigued by the fact that Bonnard was painting a composition that is so much about himself not for himself, but for it to be on display in the home of somebody else. That got me thinking about the freedom with which he gave the outside world very incisive glimpses into his own world. Beginning in that vein, I imagined arranging an exhibition in a way that might be illuminating in different ways than the usual monographic show can be. I will be very interested to see how the paintings hang together. The loans we have been granted are extraordinary. WW: What impact do you anticipate for your audiences as they respond to these subtle yet intoxicating paintings? GS: Again and again in Bonnard's paintings, he invites us to look hard and to see what it is that he has done to transcribe the idea traveling to co-organizing museum The Phillips Collection next March. Wade Wilson: In your introduction to the Pierre Bonnard exhibition catalog, you write: "Bonnard's work, without any desire to be autobiographical, nonetheless both chronicles and exposes his life, because almost every work of art he ever made was in large part inspired by the world in which he lived, and by his place in that world." Please expand on this observation. George Shackelford: Bonnard talks from time to time about the "idea" for a work Basking in Kimbell Art Museum's brilliant must-see exhibition unveils. By Wade Wilson, with Catherine D. Anspon. Pierre Bonnard's Twilight (The Game of Croquet), 1892 PARIS, MUSÉE D'ORSAY © 2023 ARTISTS RIGHTS SOCIETY (ARS), NEW YORK 126

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