Pierre Bonnard: a Melbourne Masterclass series

Presented in partnership with NGV's Melbourne Winter Masterpieces® 2023:
Pierre Bonnard: Designed by India Mahdavi
Wednesday 28 June | Wednesday 5 July | Wednesday 12 July

Painting of ballerinas in tutus on stage

As part of the University of Melbourne's Learning Partnership with Pierre Bonnard: Designed by India Mahdavi, the Faculty of Arts is delighted to again present our annual Melbourne Masterclass series at the NGV.

Over three evenings of masterclass presentations experts from across the University will offer insights and critical discussion on Pierre Bonnard, one of the most beloved painters of the 20th century.

Register for one or more of the sessions to take a deep dive into this kaleidoscopic exhibition, featuring over 150 works and immersive scenography by Paris-based designer India Mahdavi.

Masterclass attendees will enjoy:

  • stimulating presentations from experts in art history, artistic practice, and design;
  • refreshments in Federation Court;
  • and exclusive after-hours access, allowing you to explore the exhibition with a fraction of the usual crowds.

Image credit:
Pierre Bonnard 

French 1867–1947  
Dancers (Danseuses) c. 1896  
oil on cardboard  
28.0 × 36.0 cm  
Musée d’Orsay, Paris  
Acquired, 2013 (RF 2013 20)  
Photo © Musée d’Orsay, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt


  • Wednesday 28 June

    Still life, dynamic living: Bonnard in context

    “You cannot possibly invent painting all by yourself.”

    Pierre Bonnard is one of the most radical and enigmatic painters of the modern period. His rejection of traditional rules and focus on individual expression captured the spirit of modern art. In two presentations from Faculty of Arts experts, learn more about Bonnard’s life and his unique approach to painting.

    Associate Professor Anthony White will examine Bonnard’s shocking disregard for the conventions of 19th and 20th century art, and explore the brooding, psychological intensity of his paintings of domestic interiors. Dr Jane Eckett will follow by contextualising Bonnard against a broader history of still life painting to foreground his unique contributions to this oft-overlooked genre.

  • Wednesday 5 July

    Skin deep: Bonnard beyond the surface

    “Draw your pleasure, paint your pleasure, and express your pleasure strongly.”

    Bonnard's artistic practice was characterised by his use of vibrant colour and experimentation – this creative legacy continues to influence the work of artists today. Hear from two practicing artists from the Victorian College of the Arts on their interpretation of the French artist’s work and his ongoing impact.

    Nick Selenitsch will explore how the form and texture of Bonnard's paintings can be considered as a kind of metaphorical and experiential skin while Dr Lisa Radford will share her experience of tracking down a lost Bonnard painting using both scholarly research and creative process.

  • Wednesday 12 July

    New sensations: Bonnard as experience

    “Art will never be able to exist without nature.”

    Pierre Bonnard is perhaps best known for his scenes of everyday life, but he also painted many landscapes throughout his career characterised by his use of vibrant, bold colours and loose, expressive brushwork. Learn more about the artist’s use of light, colour and atmosphere and how they served as inspiration for India Mahdavi’s exhibition design.

    Dr Olivia Meehan from the Faculty of Arts will provide further context on Bonnard’s approach to painting nature, emphasising the sensory qualities of the artwork, while Professor Donald Bates from the Melbourne School of Design will explain how exhibition spaces can create powerful and immersive experiences.


  • Associate Professor Anthony White

    Headshot of Anthony White

    Anthony White is an Associate Professor in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. His research focuses on the history of modern and contemporary art. He has published several books, including Italian Modern Art in the Age of Fascism (Routledge, 2020), and his writing on modern art has been published widely in leading peer-reviewed journals. He is a frequent recipient of research awards from the Australian Research Council (2018, 2012, 2007) and has held several appointments at major institutions including Harvard, New York University and the Centre of Visual Art at the University of Melbourne.

  • Dr Jane Eckett

    Headshot of Jane Eckett

    Jane Eckett is an art historian, curator and Postdoctoral Research Associate in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. She holds a Masters of Letters (MLitt) from Trinity College Dublin and a PhD from the University of Melbourne, awarded in 2017. Her research focuses on modernist sculpture, public art and memorials, diaspora art and émigré networks. She has worked as a sessional lecturer in art history at the University of Melbourne since 2010 and regularly speaks in public, most recently delivering the 2019 annual Duldig Lecture.

  • Dr Lisa Radford

    Headshot of Lisa Radford

    Emerging from the discipline of painting Lisa Radford explores the shared socio-political space between images, place and people. Conversation and collaboration form the fundamental basis of her processes as means for creating iterative and generative texts, exhibitions and seminars that span a range of media including painting, publishing, performance and installation.

  • Nick Selenitsch

    Headshot of Nick Selenitsch

    Nick Selenitsch is an artist and Lecturer at the Victorian College of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne, where he works in Critical and Theoretical Studies (CATS) and Painting. Recent solo exhibitions include Australian Crawl, Savage Garden, Melbourne, 2022, Nick Selenitsch – Form & The Universe of Colour, Benalla Art Gallery, Benalla, 2021; and, &, Sutton Gallery, 2021. Nick Selenitsch is represented in Australia by Sutton Gallery, Melbourne.

  • Professor Donald Bates

    Headshot of Donald Bates

    Donald Bates is a registered architect in Australia and the UK and is the Director of LAB Architecture Studio. LAB Architecture Studio are the architects of Melbourne’s award-winning Federation Square.  The works of LAB have been exhibited in museums and exhibitions across Australia, Europe and the USA, and have been published in more than 50 international publications. Professor Bates has lectured extensively in both an academic and professional capacity, with more than 140 lectures across North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia in the last 20 years. He has been the subject of numerous interviews, in print, radio and television.

  • Dr Olivia Meehan

    Headshot of Olivia Meehan

    Olivia Meehan is an art historian who makes connections between art, literature, nature and gardens across continents and through centuries. Olivia received her MPhil and PhD in the History of Art from the University of Cambridge, King's College. Her graduate research focused on the circulation of cultural material and ideas in early modern Europe and Japan. Since graduating she has worked in museums and galleries, and as a lecturer and tutor in the History of Art.


28 June | 5 July | 12 July

From 6.30pm

Arrival and registration.


Masterclass presentations.


Break for refreshments.


Exhibition viewing time.


NGV Design Store closes.

Ticket information

Register for the series

$85 General admission / $80 University of Melbourne alumni, staff, and students

Price covers one masterclass session, including two presentations, refreshments and after-hours exhibition entry. GST inclusive.

For accessibility information and ticketing terms and conditions, please visit our Frequently asked questions web page.


See our FAQ page for more information on all our Community Education courses.

Have a question that hasn't been answered?

We'd be happy to help. Contact us at arts-tickets@unimelb.edu.au