Pierre Bonnard. The Terrace at Vernon, 1928. Oil on canvas. Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf (cat. no. 58)

This monumental canvas is the largest of the three decorative panoramas inspired by the view from the terrace of Pierre Bonnard’s Normandy home, Ma Roulotte. (The other two, also in the exhibition, are The Terrace at Vernon in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Terrace of 1918 in the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. ) This canvas also feels the most northern, largely because of its cool palette, which differs particularly from the warm, sunny colors of the earlier Terrace at Vernon. Moreover, Bonnard gave the Seine River, a Normandy landmark which ran behind Ma Roulotte, a prominence that it lacks in the other paintings. Here it is visible as a wide band of blue, sparkling with sunlight behind the tree branches. The woman with the hat mounting the stairs on the right is probably Marthe, the artist’s longtime companion whom he married in 1925.

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