Bonnard was born in Fontenay-aux-Roses near Paris. After studying the classics at “lycée”, he entered law school. At the same time he took classes at the Ecole des Beaux- Arts and the Académie Julian, where he met the artists who would come to be known as the Nabis. In the 1890s he absorbed the bold, decorative, flat formal vocabulary of “ukiyo-e” and did very accomplished graphic work. At the turn of the century he began experimenting with Impressionist techniques in oil painting. In 1912 he purchased a home "Ma Roulotte" in northern France from which he traveled back and forth to his villa in southern France each year. In his late career, he took an even greater interest in color and form as such. The paintings of his later years, inspired by the pastoral landscapes of sunny southern France, achieve an extreme intensity of light and color. He died in Le Cannet in southern France.