The Barn (Cow in the Stable)

Pierre Bonnard

El establo (vaca en la cuadra)

Bonnard, Pierre

Fontenay-aux-Roses, 1867 - Le Cannet, 1947

The Barn (Cow in the Stable), 1912

© Pierre Bonnard, VEGAP, Madrid, 2015

Signed lower left: ''Bonnard''.
Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection.
Location: Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, Madrid.

Oil on canvas

47 x 73 cm


Artwork history

  • Bernheim-Jeune Gallery, acquired from the artist, París, 1912

  • Herbert Kullmann, Manchester

  • Hôtel Drouot, Paris,  lot 1, May 16, 1914

  • Jules Chavasse, Paris

  • Hôtel Drouot, Paris,  lot 2,  June 22, 1922

  • Bernheim-Jeune Gallery, Paris

  • E. Druet Gallery, Paris

  • Baroness Alix de Rothschild, Paris

  • Loudmer, Paris, lot 76, April 9, 1989

  • Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection


La Collection Herbert Kullmann, París, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, n. 1


Tableaux de Pierre Bonnard de 1891 à 1922, París, Galerie E. Druet, n. 43

2000 - 2001

L'impressionisme i la seva empremta en la col·lecció Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Andorra, Sala d'Exposicions del Govern d'Andorra, p. 54, lám. p. 55

  • -Apollinaire, G.: “Les treize”.  Paris-Journal. May 14, 1914.

  • -Fénéon, F.: “La collection Herbert Kullmann”. Bulletin. April 29, 1914.

  • -Coquiot, Gustave: Bonnard. París, 1922, p. 56.

  • -Dauberville, Jean y Henry: Bonnard. Catalogue raisonné de l´oeuvre peint. París, Bernheim, 1965-1975 , vol. 2 (1968), n. 710, p. 271, lám.

  • -Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Arnaldo, Javier (ed.). 2 vols. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2004, vol. 2, p. 108, lám. p. 109 [ Sheet by Guillermo Solana]

Expert report

In the spring of 1914 the Herbert Kullmann Collection was offered for sale at the Hôtel Drouot in Paris. This collection comprised works by Turner, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh and Matisse among others. It also featured the present work, The Barn, by Bonnard. On this occasion Fénéon wrote: “Comprising only thirteen pieces, but all of the rarest quality and, almost all of capital importance.” Apollinaire noted: “There are in total thirteen canvases there, but thirteen canvases that represent the learning of an entire era and all the schools of that same era. And each of these paintings has been selected from the best work by the best artist of each school.” Both critics mentioned the present painting.

Contemporary to Bonnard’s great decorative panels, The Barn reveals a different side to the artist, more realist in nature, more spontaneous and direct. Here he sets aside the techniques employed in his more stylised, poetic compositions and take on the simplicity of some of the 17th-century Dutch Masters. The stable with the cow, the donkey and the hen is the naturalist reversal of his more ambitious compositions, such as The Pastoral Symphony of 1916-1920, in which a woman milking a cow appears in the foreground. One might suggest that the Barn could include a veiled allusion to the birth of Christ. Two paintings by Gauguin of 1896 set a precedent here: The Nativity (Bé Bé), St. Petersburg, Hermitage Museum, and The Nativity (Te tamari no atua) Munich, Neue Pinakothek. Both include the motif of cows in a barn taken from Octave Tassaert’s Inside a Barn, and link it with the iconography of the Birth of Christ.

The scene is captured with an ease of execution reminiscent of Delacroix. The mound of hay has that brilliant orchestration of colours found in Bonnard’s finest landscapes, as well as in the pattern of a bedspread, the brocade of the curtains, the Misia tapestries, and a dress held by Marthe.

Guillermo Solana