Interior: The Terrasse Children
Pierre Bonnard ( French, 1867 - 1947 )
Pierre Bonnard, like his friend Edouard Vuillard, was a devoted uncle and made many images of his nephews, Charles and Jean Terrasse. The two boys are shown here reading by the light of an oil lamp. Jean, the elder of the two, is seated at right, leaning his cheek on his fist as he reads. The younger boy, Charles, appears to sound out the words from the pages of an illustrated book. Later in life, Charles recalled that the painting was made at the family's country house at Le Grand-Lemps, in the Dauphine region of France.
Heather MacDonald, DMA Label copy, 2014.
In 1893, Bonnard published his first illustrated book, a children’s music primer written by his brother-in-law Claude Terrasse. Bonnard’s witty and inventive drawings for the project, created over nearly two years (72 are known) do not merely illustrate the text, but animate the ideas expressed in Terrasse’s simple explanations crafted for a child’s understanding.
When Emery Reves first acquired the painting in the mid-1950s, he wrote to Charles Terrasse, who then controlled the Bonnard estate. Terrasse identified both figures and told Reves that it was painted on a summer weekend in 1899 in the family's country house in Le Grand-Lemps in the Dauphiné.