Portrait of Leila Claude Anet

Portrait of Leila Claude Anet
Pierre Bonnard (French, 1867-1947)
Oil on canvas 
49 x 32-5/8 in. (124.5 x 82.9 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Accession Number:
© 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 
On View

After briefly practicing law, Pierre Bonnard turned to painting full time. Like his lifelong friend Édouard Vuillard, Bonnard began his career exploring the spiritual and symbolic potential of art, and gradually added to those concerns by focusing on the formal qualities of painting, celebrating light and color and structure above all, even subject matter. In this portrait of Leila Anet, commissioned by her father, the well-known writer and collector Claude Anet, the composition is largely straightforward. Anet sits upright in her spectacularly striped armchair, her hand in her lap and her legs modestly crossed, gazing directly at the viewer. Indeed, with regard to content, the portrait is not strikingly different from its mid-nineteenth century predecessors. In style, however, Bonnard remains exclusively in the twentieth century, befitting this strikingly modern sitter. A brown shadow becomes red, a red stripe becomes yellow, each defining depth and form along the way. From the pigment of her white sweater and skirt to the jagged areas on the carpet that spill out of the recess of the fireplace—all are constructed by Bonnard’s harnessing of color and light.


Leïla (Mme. Jean) Mabilleau, née Anet (daughter of Claude Anet), sold 31 July 1967 to;
Robert Ellis Simon, bequest 29 October 1969 to;
The Norton Simon Foundation, F.1969.38.1.P, transferred 1993 to;
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

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