Bonnard was born in Fontenay-aux-Roses, a suburb of Paris. He first studied law but in 1887 enrolled in painting and drawing classes at the Academie Julian in Paris. The following year he and fellow students-including Vuillard, Maurice Denis, and Paul Serusier-founded a group called the Nabis (French for "prophets"). The Nabis felt art should be decorative rather than overly naturalistic; they were inspired by the work of French painter Paul Gauguin and by the simplified shapes and unusual compositions of Japanese prints. Pierre Bonnard's use at this time of flat, simple shapes and broad areas of single colors earned him the nickname "the very Japanesque Nabi." His later style of subtly interwoven strokes of color owed more to the work of French impressionist painters such as Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet.
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