Ten years ago or so, an Art School friend gave me a wonderful book of letters between two great artists I admire : Pierre Bonnard and Henri Matisse.

All letters written in French have been beautifully translated in English and it is a privilege to see copies of some of the handwritten letters, postcards together with many beautiful  black and white photographs of these artists, at work, at home and with friends, taken by the great French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson.

I have not seen or been in touch with this friend for at least 8 years now,  she moved away and we lost contact. ..but this book about friendship reminds me of her kindness and thoughtfulness in giving me the opportunity to read about the daily life of these two artists she knew I admired and I am grateful…

The letters exchanged between Pierre Bonnard and Henri Matisse from 1925 to 1946 attest to a forty year friendship between those two great artists.

Vive la Peinture !!!



Antoine Terrace, Bonnard’s great-nephew writes in his introduction that Bonnard and Matisse “ have the same painterly intelligence. They share the same absolute conviction that the painting must have a life of its own.”

There are so many inspiring and heart warming passages in these letters, postcards, personal or art related. While reading this book I felt the support and inspiration these two artists gave to each other.

Henri Matisse - self portrait

“They seem like two Benedictine monks debonairly telling each other about the progress of their twin labours, and helping each other, without pettiness or self-regard, to embrace the truth a little more fondly.”  Julien Gracq

Pierre Bonnard Self - Portrait

These letters really touched my heart and encouraged me to make every effort not to lose touch with any friends.

Nowadays,  we have many ways of communicating with each other,  from telephoning,  texting,  email,  facebook messages or twitter.

I use all of them and I have made many virtual friends throughout the world and quite a few of them have become good friends.

It’s the heart that is important and it will show in the way we communicate with each other.

Taking the action to open one’s heart a little bit more,  to find the wisdom to listen,  to give unconditionally,  to help that person discover their great potential is the way forward . Trust and friendship lead to a peaceful world.

Also handwritten letters or cards are a bit of oneself we give to someone…like a signed artwork …made to inspire and encourage.

I will finish with this moving letter.

January 8th, 1940

My dear friend,

I take pleasure in writing you that my first thought this morning was about you. I still have a very precise memory of your work, which I find surer than ever. I can still see the decoration with its rose tree, and I am delighted by it. Your blue seascape, too, and I am sorry I didn’t get a good look at the bouquet of roses. I promised myself I would see it before I left but the time was too short and the interest of the conversation (I was talking about myself) prevented me. Be of good cheer, my old friend, your work is going well.

Both of us have had relatively good health, given the changes in the weather.  This morning it is warm and beautiful. That will continue.

My friendliest wishes to you both.

Henri Matisse

‘La terrasse ensoleillée’  . Bonnard worked on it from 1939 to 1946.

La terrace ensoleillée - Pierre Bonnard

5 Responses to “Friendship…”

  1. Beautiful blog Annick…friendship is truly a wonderful things and something I treasure. Thank you for putting it into such beautiful words.

    • Annick says:

      Thank you Tracy for your comment…friendship is to be treasured and not taken for granted ..we live such busy lives that we might forget to be grateful..and I am grateful to be your friend.

  2. Julia says:

    Having a good friend makes life so much more fun, but really connecting with a good art friend? That’s the rarest treasure among treasures that artists everywhere search for. Here’s to hoping wonderful circumstances will bring you and your friend back into each other’s lives somehow!

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