Monday, May 11, 2015

Eva Bonnier, Dressmakers

Eva Bonnier, Dressmakers, 1887

Eva Bonnier (1857-1909) was a Swedish painter.  Born in Stockholm, her father was a member of one of Sweden's foremost publishing families.  In 1878 Bonnier became a student at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts (in the women's section) in Stockholm.  In 1883 she traveled to Paris with a friend to study painting and stayed there until 1889.  She won an honorable mention at the Salon in 1889.  She mainly devoted herself to portraiture in the following years.  She has a well known self-portrait and is celebrated for her unflinching portrayals of illness.  Bonnier mostly stopped painting around 1900 and devoted herself to philanthropy, starting a foundation for the beautification of Stockholm and art patronage.  One of her last paintings is a portrait that shows remarkable depth and stylistic clarity.  Dressmakers is an interesting painting for its use of light and textures.  One of the most complex elements is the dress spread on the table.  The drapery is quite impressive and the weights and textures of the fabric are masterfully conveyed, so that the presence of the dress is palpable.  The pose of the two women is one an action pose, poised in the middle of their work, but emanates calm and conscientiousness.  Bonnier's careful technique can be especially seen in the face of the righthand woman.  Meanwhile the light streams in from the window, shining through the curtains and onto their work, and, in places, through the dress.

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