Pierre Bonnard. The Terrace at Vernon, or Décor at Vernon, 1920/39. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, gift of Mrs. Frank Jay Gould, 1968 (cat. no. 57)

The Terrace at Vernon can be considered either the second or the last of the three great works showing the terrace and garden vista at Pierre Bonnard’s Normandy home, Ma Roulotte. Although Bonnard began this composition in 1920, he did not completely resolve it until many years later, finishing it in 1939, after he moved definitively to the south of France. Even then, the painting must have held a particular fascination for the artist, as it remained in his studio at the time of his death in 1947. It has been suggested that this work was Bonnard’s meditation on his relationships with two women. The figure at center holding an apple may be Marthe de Méligny, his longtime mistress and wife as of 1925, while the figure rushing in from the right can be compared to Renée Monchaty, his lover for a brief period who committed suicide in 1925.

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