Notes on “The Bowl of Milk”

Pierre Bonnard, “The Bowl of Milk” (c.1919), Oil on canvas. Courtesy of Tate Modern, London.

I normally can’t stand hearing about the working habits of famous artists. Whether by sheer talent or some fiendish work ethic, they tend to be hyper-productive in a way I could never be. Thankfully, there are counter-examples — like the painter Pierre Bonnard. As you can read in the first room of the Bonnard exhibition now at London’s Tate Modern, he often took years to finish a painting, putting it to one side before coming back to it…