Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Young women -- often Marthe -- were his favorite models. He painted them in a hat, in a turban, with a pink collar, with a seagull, blending into a landscape, clustered in an interior, walking, seated, leaning over a basket of fruit.
Bonnard: Shimering Color, pp. 72-73 (Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, 2000)

It wasn't easy doing all those things at once
Though everyone liked seeing me in my pink collar,
Turban and hat. Where Bonnard found his sea gulls
I have never known. They were strangely tame
But had eyes too considering for birds
And when they screeched they seemed embarassed;
You could almost see them wishing for quotemarks
As if "graw!" and "ankhh ankhh!" were being said
Under constraint. So, on one of my posing days
When I was blending, clustered, walking, seated
While leaning over a basket of fruit and Bonnard
Asked me to balance a wine glass on my nose
And hum the Marseilles, I looked at the seagull
For inspiration. He shook his head slightly
That was enough. "M. Bonnard! It has been a pleasure
To model for a man Henri Matisse will some day
Certify as a great painter but I fear we must part;
What you want is beyond human endurance. Perhaps
You should see if the zoo has a trained seal
Who could use ten francs for two hours posing."

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