There is a certain amount of eroticism in Bonnefoit’s paintings. He explains: “It’s normal. A woman is erotic – dressed or undressed. She is sensual. A woman is like an invitation. She is exciting and that in itself is erotic. But perhaps a better word to describe her would be mystery. A woman is mysterious. It’s part of her charm. One can never know her completely. There is so much hidden within every woman. It is the depth inside a woman that I wish to portray with form and color. When Bonnefoit changes medium and switches to oil there is a very noticeable difference in his work. The colors become stronger and more important than the line.
When Alain Bonnefoit starts to talk about women, live women, painted women, and sculpted women, one begins to understand why he paints only women. “I love them. Asleep, awake, active, calm, talking, or quiet – it doesn’t matter – women are beautiful. And I love them, I love all of them.” Bonnefoit’s women are slightly reminiscent of the women in Gauguin and Matisse’s paintings or Japanese line drawings. But he insists otherwise: “It is Modigliani and Klimt who inspired me. Their women really interest me. Of course, I have always liked women, but my passion for them art wise began many years ago when I first visited Siena. There, I saw where Modigliani obtained most of his inspiration. I realized that women were eternal. They are the first subject.” Bonnefoit’s backgrounds are very simple. Often, they are non- existent or else they simply convey a texture or hint of color. “I don’t want to distract myself from the subject. I am not painting backgrounds. I am painting nude women. They surround everything and a background should stay just that – to fill the composition, to balance a color – to be a background. Every element in a painting must contribute to the work, but only contribute. It should never dominate the central theme.” The same with his portraits, they are always of a single woman, rarely two, and She is always resting in one way or another - never active or inter-acting with another person. “I am interested only in the form and that I can express best in a singular form. My women talk directly to the viewer – that’s when the real interaction takes place.” Bonnefoit knows what he is talking about. With well over one hundred exhibitions throughout Europe to his credit, his work has become phenomenally successful. It is undoubtedly that interaction between the viewer and his painting that makes it happen. But with all due respect to his celestial signs and to his opinion of himself as a Taurus, which supposedly does not allow him to be inventive, one must disagree. Bonnefoit has, without a doubt, created a form of womanhood that is seductive and maternal, that is poised and playful, a woman who is divinely serene and gracefully voluptuous. Bonnefoit has invented a woman that does not exist but who is, at the same time, everywhere. He has created a sensibility that is as fragile and as pervasive as the air we breathe.