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If Rosamond Bernier had not been born, she would have been invented as a heroine in a French Romantic novel. Her life has been a series of adventures including co-founding the French magazine L’Oeil in 1955, marrying the erudite writer John Russell, and creating a moveable feast of a lecture series at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Finally, at age 95, she has found the time to write a memoir. The cover photograph of Rosamond Bernier: Some of My Lives was taken in 1947 by Erwin Blumenfeld; that is Rosamond lying in Madame de Sévigné’s bed. “The cover my dear publisher [Farrar, Straus & Giroux] suggested was completely dull,” she says.

Photo: Courtesy Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Rosamond has continued to live in the unassuming postwar building on the Upper East Side that she moved into in 1970 (she and John were married in 1974; he passed away three years ago). She painted the walls “off-black, lots and lots of colors mixed up,” she says. “The architecture is so terrible: It’s a fifties building, and what I tried to do was simply paint the walls so you don’t see them.” The Toi et Moi by the door is a gift from Louise Bourgeois.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Rosamond created a semi-enclosed foyer by placing this screen she found in Munich between the entrance and the open living room. One side, facing the entrance, is fabric; the other is a painted scene from the School of Fontainebleau. “The metal easel I brought from Paris. It was made in Italy. Billy Baldwin admired it very much, but it does not exist over here,” she says.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

The living room is divided into two seating areas. “We are not collectors at all,” she says of the furniture. “When I came from Paris, I brought the chair you were sitting in [the red velvet bergère]. That is a good one.”

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Another “good one” is this upholstered Jacob prie-dieux with a harp back, also brought over from Paris.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

The luminous painting of a palm tree by Howard Hodgkin seems to grow right out of the living-room wall. David Hockney made the birthday card for Rosamond on her 90th.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

“I think Billy Baldwin made me these side tables because when I arrived I didn’t have any,” she says. You can see a small corner of the painted screen on the left.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Louise Bourgeois was a close friend and made this sculpture of Rosamond’s and John’s hands (and one of his feet) from a plaster cast made in the artist’s Brooklyn studio. “It took two full hours to harden,” Rosamond writes in the book. Bourgeois also provided the wooden cube base, originally part of a pier.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

This folding desktop is another one of the select pieces brought from Europe.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

The coffee table is always set with a fresh gift from florist Ronaldo Maia, who has sent flowers to Rosamond twice a week since John died in 2008. “Can you imagine?” she says. “He found my favorite rose, Rosamundo. I had it in my French garden. I don’t know how he found those! We have this great long-distance romance.” The sculpture is by Henry Moore and the ear sculpture and “We Love You” tile are from Louise Bourgeois. “She told me, ‘You talk, we listen.’ ” Rosamond says. The silver crosses are from Ethiopia.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

The Jansen dining table is where Rosamond used to lay out the slides for all of her Met lectures.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

The April 1961 cover of L’Oeil magazine. “It was everything that interested me,” she says. “I would just think of things, or hear of things, or read about something, and off I would go.”

Photo: Wendy Goodman

A spread in L’Oeil on the seventeenth-century Strasbourg artist Sébastien Stoskopff. This painting, from 1633, is called Les Cinq Sens ou l’eté (The Five Senses of Summer).

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Rosamond today. “Luck has a lot to do with everything—luck and timing,” she says. “I happened to be in Europe when the great men were still around. Had it been now, it would have been entirely different.” To buy a signed limited-edition copy of Rosamond's memoir, go to yoox.com.

Photo: Michele Mattei

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman
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